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Nearly half of Millennials and Gen-Z say they’re not planning for retirement as issues like climate change threaten their future, according to a new study from Fidelity Investments.
Forty-five percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 35 say they no longer see the point in saving for their retirement until things “return to normal.” That’s according to recent data from the Fidelity Investments 2022 State of Retirement Planning study.
Fidelity says it doesn’t have a definition for “normal,” but it’s likely to imply post-pandemic, drops in inflation and housing costs, as well as more concrete climate action.
“To this group, retirement seems like it’s a very long way away, and they have more immediate concerns,” Rita Assaf, vice president of retirement at Fidelity Investments, said in a statement. “It’s important to look at the big picture, and realize one of the most important things you can do [for financial health] is start saving for retirement.”
The study surveyed more than 2,500 Americans with at least one investment account. While 79 percent were optimistic about retiring on their own terms, the younger age group cited issues including housing prices, inflations, civil unrest, and climate change as roadblocks.
According to Fortune, one study participant, a 32-year-old woman working in tech, said she’s most worried about climate change, but she’s still making the effort.
“It can be hard to believe, but putting something away, it will help you,” she says. “Keep some in your nihilism fund,” she said.
“I wonder, will we get to retirement when half the world has melted and half of our savings are worthless, and we’re fighting it out in the Thunderdome?” one respondent joked. “But you can’t plan based on outliers.”
“It’s really hard to look at the newspaper and not feel pessimistic sometimes,” one participant said. “For me, though, it’s important to keep in mind that every generation has had concerns and threats to their sense of security. But the world keeps spinning.”
Climate change through the generations
In general, younger generations are more sensitive to climate issues. According to a recent Pew Research study, Gen Zers and Millennials are more likely to “express intense emotional reactions to seeing climate change content on social platforms compared with older generations.”
Sixty-nine percent of Gen Z and 59 percent of Millennial social media users say it made them feel “anxious about the future the last time they saw content on social media about addressing climate change.” For older generations, Gen X and Baby Boomers, it’s about 41 percent.
But when it comes to actions, the younger generations are more motivated to learn more about climate change issues and how they can help; 54 percent of Gen Z and 53 percent of Millennial social media users say they’re more interested in learning about the issues, compared with 43 percent of Gen X and 39 percent of Baby Boomers.
Lead photo courtesy Red Hat Factory on Unsplash