Millennials Look to 401k Returns to Fund Passion Projects

An uncertain career landscape fuels younger generations' courage to pursue something meaningful

401k, millennials, generation x, retirement savingsTake a year off, start a wine bar (seriously?).

Over 80 percent of Americans feel it’s important that their work and their values align. And Millennials, more than any other generation, seem gung-ho when it comes to making this a reality.

Two in five employed Millennials believe the will have the financial resources at some point to take a year from traditional work to pursue a passion project.

According to a recent study, 21 percent of working Millennials (ages 18 to 34) said they would need $15,000 or less to pursue a passion project or activity, such as launching a nonprofit or embarking on an artistic pursuit, for one year or longer.

Meanwhile, 29 percent of employed Gen Xers (ages 35 to 54) anticipated needing $1 million or more to do the same thing.

The survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Swell Investing, indicated almost 30 percent of Millennials who invest said they would look to returns to fund this endeavor. Survey results showed 24 percent of Gen Xers agree.

“Almost everyone wants to pursue purposeful work. But Millennials are most likely to take action,” Dave Fanger, CEO of Swell Investing, said in a statement.

Results of a separate Swell survey suggest one reason the younger generation may be more accepting of a nontraditional career path is they know they have no choice. Working shorter stints for several businesses is becoming a more common career trajectory than once-traditional long periods of employment at a single company.

Just 15 percent of Millennials said that they’ve had only one employer in the last decade; 37 percent of Gen Xers reported as much.

“When asked whether they anticipated that some or all of their job functions would be automated now or in the next five years, 45 percent of employed Millennials and about a third…of Gen X workers responded yes,” according to study results.

For whatever the future holds, both generations appear to be saving for retirement. The increasing prevalence of job hopping, however, is translating to employees having multiple retirement savings accounts. In fact, almost half of Millennial and two in five Gen X savers currently have two or more.

“Retirement planning is challenging for everyone, but the next generation faces a changing employment future that will shape the way they plan,” Fanger concluded.

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