Vast Majority of Millennials Believe They Would Need at Least $1 Million to Retire, Survey Finds

By Staff Report

Oct. 20, 2009

Although retirement may be decades away for young adults, they are already acutely aware that they’ll need to become millionaires to stop working one day, according to a survey from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation.

A poll of 172 adults 18-29 on the foundation’s financial literacy Web site—themint—showed that 84 percent think they will need to save at least $1 million to retire.

Fully 45 percent of the young adults said that they will need upward of $2 million to retire.

Adults over 30, however, said that they could get by on less.

A survey by themint of 335 adults over 30 found that just 60 percent said that they will need to save $1 million to retire. Twenty-seven percent said they will need at least $2 million to stop working.

Tough economic times have made the younger set more aware of just how much they need to scrimp and save to get to retirement, said Meridee Maynard, senior vice president at Northwestern Mutual.

She attributed the younger individuals’ larger estimates of how much they need to retire to the fact that they are bombarded with news of economic distress.

“Younger people today have now realized that they may not be able to rely on the government and their employer; it starts with them,” Maynard said in an interview. “I feel from a future financial-security standpoint, people realize that, ‘It starts with me,’ and the news has really stirred the pot in a good way.”

Maynard also attributed the estimation gap between the older set versus the younger adults to the fact that the younger generation is receiving more education in financial literacy than their older counterparts did.

Financial-literacy efforts have started to gain interest in the schools,” she said. “People like me relied on friends and family to develop habits, but now there are Web sites and other things to encourage young people to learn more about money and develop good habits.”

Filed by Darla Mercado of InvestmentNews, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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