Investor Watch: The Ties That Bind

How Boomers and Millennials Are Redefining Family and Finance

Boomers offer friendship and financial support but one in four Millennials still dips into retirement accounts

New York, NY – UBS Wealth Management Americas (WMA) today released its quarterly UBS Investor Watch report, “The ties that bind,” focused on how wealthy Baby Boomers and their Millennial children are redefining the traditional parent/child relationship.

The findings reveal the stark contrast between Millennials’ view of their parents as peers and friends, and Boomers’ more authoritative view of their parents.

The strong ties between Millennials and Boomers last far into adulthood and often include financial support — nearly three quarters (74%) of Millennials receive some form of financial assistance from their parents.

“Boomers and Millennials are as much friends as they are parents and children,” said Paula Polito, Client Strategy Officer of UBS Wealth Management Americas. “Their unique relationship deepens their bond, and they maintain both close emotional and financial ties.”

Redefining family

The majority of Millennials view their parents as peers, mentors and friends, whereas more Boomers saw their parents as authorities. Nearly three quarters (73%) of Millennials say they connected with their parents more than once a week during college, compared to 34% of Boomers.

In terms of planning their own families, Millennials are putting off marriage and children later than Boomers did, opting for adventure and life experience: 28% say they have traveled the world for six months or more, compared to 12% of Baby Boomers.

Boomers happily give Millennials financial support

Baby Boomer parents are overwhelmingly positive about their ability to help their children financially. A majority (80%) said they feel good about providing financial support, while only 10% say they withhold it to teach adult children financial responsibility. However, 52% of Millennials feel shame, frustration or guilt about accepting assistance from their parents.

The financial support Millennials receive from their parents takes many forms. Most is for necessities: health insurance (29%), home buying/renting (28%), auto insurance (26%) and utilities (23%), though Millennials receive funding for vacations (19%) and spending money (21%) as well.

Millennials are almost twice as likely to move home after college as their parents were. The primary motivation for doing so is to save money; however, 24% of Millennials prefer to live with their parents, while 22% say their parents wanted them to stay.

Fiscally conservative Millennials are focused on the “now”

Investor Watch found that when it comes to finances, a majority of Millennials (73%) tend to focus on short-term needs and goals, such as homes and travel, believing retirement is too far away to worry about. Over half of Millennials with retirement accounts have or would consider dipping into them to make a large purchase, with 25% having already withdrawn funds.

Millennials have a completely different view of the markets than Boomers and are highly risk averse. On average, Millennials hold twice as much cash as Boomers (47% of assets vs. 20% for Boomers). However, they do not appear to feel safer or more content with their finances: only 29% are happy with their portfolios, compared to 78% of Baby Boomers.

The majority of Millennials view their parents as peers, mentors and friends, whereas more Boomers saw their parents as authorities

“The ties that bind Boomers and Millennials are deep and long lasting,” said Sameer Aurora, Head of Client Strategy for UBS Wealth Management Americas. “The relationship has major financial implications for both generations, but few Millennials are adopting their parents’ investment behaviors.”

We invite you to read the full report here:




About UBS Investor Watch
UBS Wealth Management Americas surveys U.S. investors on a quarterly basis to keep a pulse on their needs, goals and concerns. After identifying several emerging trends in the survey data, UBS decided in 2012 to create the UBS Investor Watch to track, analyze and report the sentiments of affluent and high net worth investors.
For this 15th edition of UBS Investor Watch, 2,971 affluent and high net worth investors responded to our survey from March 10 – 22, 2016. The core sample of 2,050 investors have at least $1 million in investable assets, including 479 with at least $5 million. With 93 survey respondents, we conducted qualitative follow-up interviews. This UBS Investor Watch also includes an oversample pf 1,131 Millennials:
· Respondents ages 21 – 29 who have at least $100,000 in household income or $100,000 in investable assets
· Respondents ages 30 – 36 who have at least $250,000 in investable assets
The sample was weighted by gender within each generation to match the U.S. population.
About UBS Wealth Management Americas
Wealth Management Americas is one of the leading wealth managers in the Americas in terms of financial advisor productivity and invested assets. It provides advice-based solutions and banking services through financial advisors who deliver a fully integrated set of products and services specifically designed to address the needs of ultra-high net worth and high net worth individuals and families. It includes the domestic U.S. and Canadian business as well as the international business booked in the U.S.
About UBS
UBS is committed to providing private, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland, with superior financial advice and solutions while generating attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders. Its strategy centers on its Wealth Management and Wealth Management Americas businesses and its leading universal bank in Switzerland, complemented by its UBS Asset Management business and its Investment Bank. These businesses share three key characteristics: they benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital-efficient, and offer a superior structural growth and profitability outlook. UBS’s strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates. Capital strength is the foundation of its success.
UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in more than 50 countries, with about 35% of its employees working in the Americas, 36% in Switzerland, 17% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 12% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs about 60,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).