South Florida Residents Prioritize Lifestyle Over Retirement
Merrill Edge® Report Finds the Traditional Idea of Retirement Is Officially Extinct for South Florida and Millennials, With Many Saving for Financial Freedom Instead
South Floridians may be ahead of the curve, following the national shift of millennials planning for financial freedom over retirement. Fifty-three percent of South Floridians and 63 percent of millennials nationally are looking to achieve the amount of money or savings needed to live their desired lifestyle, while Gen Xers and baby boomers in the United States (55 percent) are saving to leave the workforce.
These findings are according to the latest Merrill Edge Report, a biannual survey of 1,000 mass affluent Americans1 that oversampled 300 South Florida residents between March 21 and April 5, 2017. The report reveals similarities between how South Florida respondents approach their financial futures compared to younger generations in the United States.
“This spring’s report shows South Floridians and millennials are more alike than you may think,” said Andrew Wilson, regional manager of Merrill Edge. “Residents appear to be ahead of the game, shifting their long-term savings goals to achieve their desired lifestyle instead of leaving the workforce. As South Florida residents’ priorities evolve, it is imperative they don’t underestimate the power of saving early. Whether it’s for their future lifestyle or retiring, they won’t regret it.”
Despite saving long-term for financial freedom, it appears South Florida residents could improve their everyday saving habits. The report found South Floridians are more likely to spend their money on travel (81 percent), their home (76 percent) and dining out (67 percent) than invest in their financial future or retirement. South Floridians are more likely than any other market surveyed to prioritize designer fashion (19 percent), season tickets (15 percent) and plastic surgery/cosmetic enhancements (15 percent) over saving for their financial future.
Preparing for life’s “what ifs”
In line with national respondents who are saving less than 10 percent (42 percent) of their salary, thirty-nine percent of South Florida residents are saving less than 10 percent of their salary, including 9 percent who don’t save at all. This savings gap may be the reason why South Floridians don’t feel prepared for life’s “what-if” scenarios:
- Seventy-two percent say they are not very confident they could achieve their financial goals if they had children.
- Two-thirds are not very confident they could achieve their financial goals if they were to get divorced.
- Half are not very confident they could achieve their financial goals if they outlived their significant other.
South Floridians align with most Americans in thinking they could do a better job to prepare for life’s surprises. Sixty-two percent of South Florida residents believe individuals in the U.S. should be required to save for retirement, and 45 percent believe financial education should be required.
The future of financial advice
Innovations in technology have a significant influence on the future of saving, as many South Floridians and Americans alike increasingly embrace recent industry advancements to make investment decisions and receive guidance.
Forty-seven percent of South Floridians say they make and manage their investments through an online or mobile portal. South Florida respondents cite this ability to invest via mobile makes them feel knowledgeable (44 percent) and empowered (38 percent).
For more in-depth information about the financial behaviors and priorities of mass affluent South Floridians and Americans, read the entire Spring 2017 Merrill Edge Report here. A complementing infographic is available here.
1 Merrill Edge Survey Methodology
Convergys (an independent market research company) conducted a nationally representative, panel sample online survey on behalf of Merrill Edge March 21-April 5, 2017. The survey consisted of 1,023 mass affluent respondents throughout the U.S. Respondents in the study were defined as aged 18 to 34 (millennials) with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to 34 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000; or aged 35-plus with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000. For this purpose, investable assets consist of the value of all cash, savings, mutual funds, CDs, IRAs, stocks, bonds and all other types of investments excluding primary home and other real estate investments. We conducted an oversampling of 300 mass affluents in the following markets: Los Angeles, Dallas, South Florida, Chicago, Atlanta, and Phoenix. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent for the national sample and about +/- 5.6 percent for the oversample markets, all reported at a 95 percent confidence level.
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