When it comes to retirement and finances, members of Generation X and Generation Y talk the talk but they dont walk the walk.
In a Fidelity survey of 1,200 young people, they overwhelmingly said their biggest concern in life is money, yet when it comes down to career choices, they are more motivated by quality of life than they are salaries.
Seventy-seven percent of Gen X and 74% of Gen Y said money is their biggest concern, placing it above family relationships and healthcare. Yet, 70% of Gen X and 63% of Gen Y said that quality of life drives their career choices.
While about half of the two groups said that saving for retirement is a goal, half also said that other financial priorities take precedence, namely, everyday finances, mortgage payments, car payments, school loans and credit card debt.
Younger generations in particular are saddled with onerous debt, Fidelity said.
Debt prevents saving in older generations as well, noted Pamela Norley, executive vice president of Fidelity Consulting Group, but its especially a challenge for Gen X and Y.
Younger generations are more likely to use credit than save for short-term purchases, which results in an ongoing struggle with debt management.
More than half (62% and 57% of Gen X and Y, respectively) said they were not confident in their financial decisions, and about 20% of both groups were not seeking out financial help.
For many young people, workplace savings plans are often their first experience with investing, said Scott B. David, president of retirement services at Fidelity Investments. While its encouraging to see that more than half are saving through their workplace plan, the cash out rate [40% between the two groups] is concerning. Employers are service providers need to work together to help this generation understand the long-term implications of cashing out and options to help their money to potentially continue to grow.