The Millennial Misperception

Investing and Retirement Planning

Our kids may be savvier than we think

Are you the parent of millennial children (the generation born between 1980 and 2000)? Are you worried about their overall financial preparedness—unsure whether or not they’ve developed the skills and values needed to be sound investors and empathetic inheritors of wealth?

Keep in mind, this is a generation that’s expected to inherit more than $68 trillion in wealth from their parents’ generation by 2030.Disclosure 1  It’s an incredible influx of wealth over a short period of time. For their parents, it raises a number of concerns:

  1. .As the very first internet generation, to a great extent millennials have led lives that are as much online as offline. Many parents fear this has created less engaged and more isolated adults who may lack essential interpersonal and relationship skills.
  2. It’s the generation that grew up on reality TV and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—where narcissism, self-indulgence, and an unhealthy sense of self-importance are celebrated.  
  3. Even the shrinking size of the modern family can be a cause for concern. After all, it’s much more difficult to feel as though the world revolves around you when you’re one of five or six children rather than an only child.

Dispelling the myth

There’s no question they’re technology-driven information sharers. But millennials aren’t anywhere near as insulated or disengaged as the media would lead us to believe. In fact, millennials tend to be incredibly cause-driven and charitable—with strong social consciences. Unlike previous generations, they’re often more globally than locally focused. And often, they’re actually more financially conservative than their Baby Boomer and early GenX parents.

Having come of age during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, they’ve seen firsthand the negative consequences of corporate excess and fiscal irresponsibility. As a result, theirs are some of today’s loudest voices calling on corporate America to be more socially responsible and thoughtful about controlled growth.

This is a generation of young adults who seem even more driven to “do good” for others more than to “do well” for themselves.

Create a legacy of your values

One way to further cultivate the empathy, generosity and social engagement that’s inherent in your millennial children is through philanthropy. Irrevocable, planned giving solutions such as donor-advised fundsDisclosure 2  and certain charitable trusts can make giving an incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling shared family endeavor—sparking their sense of selflessness and a desire to support the causes they feel most passionate about. As an added benefit, some of these strategies can allow your gifted assets to still provide you with both an income stream and tax benefits.

While broad generational trends can’t capture the uniqueness of each individual, there’s a good deal of evidence that suggests parents need not worry so much. Most millennials seem well poised to take on the challenges of managing considerable wealth. How can you further that preparedness? The key lies in establishing an open, honest dialogue. Talk to your children about the legacy you’ve created and the responsibilities that come with that legacy. Be candid about the mistakes you’ve made along the way and the things you wished you knew earlier in life.

Helping your millennial children find their focus and direction may not be as challenging as you think. All it takes is some careful thought, planning and communication. Your Truist Wealth advisor can work with you to help educate the next generation and identify the best strategies to fit your family’s needs and circumstances.

Interested in learning more about family financial education and wealth transfer strategies? 

Contact a Truist Wealth Advisor