Gen X Millionaires are more likely than older investors to regret actions taken prior to the financial crisis. Why?
Most Millionaires regret some of the decisions they made leading up to the financial crisis of 2008, but recession-weary Gen X investors are most likely to wish they had done things differently, according to a first quarter study from Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner.
One-third of Millionaire investors ages 44 and younger wish they had saved more in the years leading up to the financial crisis, according to our survey. A smaller share of investors ages 65 and older – 21 percent - express a similar regret.
The financial well-being of younger generations greatly worries older Millionaires. Click here to learn more.
More than 20 percent of Gen X Millionaires – compared to 7 percent of those ages 65 and older - wish they had “not taken on as much debt” prior to the financial crisis. Gen X Millionaires are also more likely than their senior counterparts to wish they had invested more in a 401(k) or similar product (17 percent vs. 10 percent, respectively) and used a financial advisor more (13 percent vs. 9 percent, respectively).
The heightened regrets over saving, debt and investing for retirement likely reflects the disproportionate toll the recession has taken on Gen X investors, according to a recent study by Edward N. Wolff, of New York University’s Department of Economics. In his report, The Asset Price Meltdown and the Wealth of the Middle Class, Wolff has tracked a “notable shift in wealth” toward older Americans.
The average wealth of Americans ages 35 to 44 shrank from $325,000 to $190,000 from 2007 to 2010, while older investors experience a much less dramatic decline in wealth, Wolff said, who attributes the difference to variations in asset allocation. Gen X and investors had more mortgage debt relative to home equity, and more debt relative to income compared to older investors.
Older Millionaires advise beginning investors to take full advantage of retirement savings plans before contemplating a home purchase. Click here to learn more.
“Younger households were thus more heavily invested in homes and more heavily in debt whereas the portfolio of older households was more heavily skewed to financial assets,” Wolff said. “As such, the wealth position of younger households was hit much harder by the Great Recession that that for older households.”
One-third of the oldest Millionaires participating in our April survey cited no specific regrets about their financial decisions prior to the crisis. Only 15 percent of Gen X Millionaires could say the same.