Millionaire Millennials surveyed are significantly more likely than Gen Xers and baby boomers to credit their success to running their own business
A Spectrem’s Millionaire study of wealthy Millennials both supports and belies stereotypes attached to this oft-maligned generation of young people ages 18-32.
Millionaire Millennials, for example, are more likely than previous generations to attribute their financial success to inheritance (42 percent vs. 30 percent of Gen Xers and 28 percent of baby boomers) and family connections (49 percent vs. 25 percent and 9 percent, respectively). That plays into the hands of those who dismiss Millennials as a generation with a sense of entitlement.
But there is also this: Millionaire Millennials surveyed were significantly more likely than Gen Xers and baby boomers to credit their success to running their own business (46 percent vs. 36 percent and 24 percent, respectively). This is a unique generational response to a challenging job market that has seen more than half of recent college graduates either unemployed or under-employed, According to studies recently cited by Denali Tietjen in the Christian Science Monitor, 35 percent of employed Millennials have started their own side business, while nearly three-fourths (72 percent) are looking to quit their jobs to devote themselves to their own business.
Unlike previous generations, Millennials put a higher premium on their education than they do hard work in creating wealth, and it is in college they have increasing access to courses in entrepreneurship.
Also working in their favor is that Millennials, too, were made for these times when the Internet and mobile technology are playing key roles as never before in creating, building and promoting a business. They came of age in the era of iPads, smartphones and tablets. They are the most likely to be first adopters of new technology and gadgets and are significantly more likely than previous generations to use social media. Half of Millionaire Millennials surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner said they use Facebook, compared to 30 percent of Gen Xers and 38 percent of baby boomers.
Similarly, three-fourths of Millionaire Millennials use a smartphone compared with 59 percent of boomers, who are more likely than their younger counterparts to browse the Internet old school with their PC or Mac. Meanwhile, more than one-third of Millennial respondents overall rely on social media to communicate with others more than traditional channels such as the telephone.
Considering the importance they place on their own education, it is not surprising that the highest percentage of Millionaire Millennials (58 percent) express the most concern about being able to finance the education of their children. Fifty-six percent are looking ahead to their children or grandchildren’s financial situation. Half are concerned most about maintaining their own current financial position. Not surprisingly, health issues are not as much on their radar as they are with previous generations.
Such is the perceived fragility of the job market that, more than Gen Xers and baby boomers, Millionaire Millennials are more concerned about either losing their job or their spouse losing theirs. Across the generations, they also express more concern about getting adequate help and advice that would allow them to reach their financial goals. More than four-in-ten (42 percent)—the highest percentage across all age groups—identify themselves as event-driven investors, meaning that they make most of their own financial and investment decisions, but will consult with a financial advisor for specialized needs such as saving for college, asset allocation, or retirement planning.
And while some might dismiss Millennials as self-involved, the Millionaires in this age group surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner were most likely to say that they want to use their wealth to help others (45 percent vs. 30 percent of Gen Xers and 31 percent of baby boomers).
Maybe it's their age, or maybe they truly do feel entitled, but Millionaire Millennials express more optimism about the future than their elders. Seven-in-ten percent (vs. 58 percent of baby boomers) said they expect their financial situation will be stronger one year from now.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.