Study: Millennial generation most fiscally cautious since Depression

Millennials’ financial conservatism
Millennials are the most financially conservative generation since the Great Depression, according to a survey. Here, a coffee shop scene from the HBO series “Girls.”
(Jessica Miglio / HBO)

Call it the John-Boy Effect: The millennial generation is the most financially conservative since the Great Depression, according to a new study.

The trauma of the global financial crisis in 2008 and the dot-com meltdown eight years earlier have turned millennials into hard-core savers who are reluctant to take big financial risks, according to UBS Wealth Management Americas.

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More than one-third of people aged 21 to 36 say they’re financially conservative, and their actions speak even louder than their words, according to the survey. The average millennial has 52% of his or her portfolio in cash, more than twice the 23% of other investors.


A mere 28% of millennials see the point of long-term investing, and only 12% would stash so-called found money in the stock market, according to the survey.

“Millennials seem to be permanently scarred by the 2008 financial crisis,” said Emily Pachuta, UBS head of investor insights. “They have a Depression-era mind-set largely because they experienced market volatility and job security issues very early in their careers, or watched their parents experience them, and it has had a significant impact on their attitudes and behaviors.”

Even so, millennials still want money, the survey showed. They define success as having a household income of $220,000.

Goodnight, John-Boy.



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