The Longevity Curve

For Millennials, Retirement Means Freedom

Millennials Saving More, Expecting More than Prior Generations

New research from the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) reveals that most millennials feel that they are ‘on their own’ for retirement income

PALM BEACH, FL – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) released today the findings from its second biennial report on Millennials and their thoughts about, and preparations for, retirement.

With a quarter century until the first of them turn 65, Millennials very much view themselves as “on their own” with regard to retirement income, and are saving for what they see as the biggest benefit of being retired: freedom. More than half of Millennials are making contributions to 401(k) accounts and about four in ten are contributing to personal savings – saving at higher rates than the forty six percent of Baby Boomers and thirty six percent of GenXers with no retirement savings.

Millennial understanding and expectations for retirement are influenced by their lack of confidence in Social Security retirement benefits and the demise of the traditional defined benefit pension. Only a quarter of Millennials are confident they will realize meaningful income generated from these sources.

Saving… but not really planning

“It is encouraging to see Millennials saving for retirement and contributing to workplace and personal retirement accounts,” said IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford. “While Millennials are saving, most are not planning, with only 34 percent of them having sought the advice of a financial advisor. Considering that the top three financial areas Millennials want help with are calculating retirement savings goals, paying off debt, and creating a retirement plan, advisors have an opportunity to help Millennials increase their wealth and prepare for retirement. Millennials also demonstrate a desire for guaranteed lifetime income and 93 percent are open to purchasing an annuity. As the responsibility for ensuring financial security in retirement falls more on the individual, the Millennials are taking steps to ensure self-reliance.”

Key findings from the Report:

While Millennials are saving, most are not planning

Millennials want flexibility and choice during retirement: the majority associate the word “freedom” with their feelings about retirement, and 50 percent believe retirement means being able to decide whether, and/or how much, to work.

Only one in four Millennials believe Social Security will provide meaningful income during their retirement years, versus 53 percent who believe they will realize meaningful income from a workplace retirement account; among Millennials with a bachelor’s degree or higher this rises to 62 percent.

A third of Millennials expect health care costs to be their largest expense during retirement, ahead of housing and utilities (27 percent) and travel/leisure (18 percent).

Two-thirds of Millennials have not consulted a financial advisor.

Four in 10 Millennials cite trust as their top consideration in choosing a financial advisor, versus 21 percent naming the ability of the advisor to provide services they cannot perform themselves as their top consideration.

Nine in 10 Millennials are open to using their parents’ financial advisor(s).




About the Insured Retirement Institute: The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) is the leading association for the retirement income industry.  IRI proudly leads a national consumer coalition of more than 30 organizations, and is the only association that represents the entire supply chain of insured retirement strategies.  IRI members are the major insurers, asset managers, broker-dealers/distributors, and 150,000 financial professionals.  As a not-for-profit organization, IRI provides an objective forum for communication and education, and advocates for the sustainable retirement solutions Americans need to help achieve a secure and dignified retirement.  Learn more at