The members of Generation Y, also known as "millennials," have vastly different backgrounds and expectations than the generations before them. Today's 20-somethings can't remember a time without smartphones or the ability to access the information most important to them whenever they need it. It would be easy for some mutual fund managers to assume that millennials lack the same mindset or appetite for risk when it comes to investing and saving than previous generations, and view attracting them to mutual funds as a Herculean task. However, both of these assumptions are false. If managers embrace the technology and engagement with companies they trust that millennials have grown up with, they can successfully grow their assets by appealing to this relatively untapped investor base.
A Wells Fargo Retirement study released in May 2013 found that 61% of millennials see themselves as "savers," while only 46% said their parents fit into that category. Of the millennial respondents who are saving for retirement, 32% said they were "not sure" how much they have invested in stocks or mutual funds, while 18% said 100% of their savings are invested in stocks or mutual funds. The Wells Fargo Retirement survey shows that many millennials are indeed actively engaged in saving and investing, even if the majority currently do not invest in mutual funds. These figures will likely change in the coming years as many millennials reach an investment crossroads when they inherit assets from their parents.