Dallas/Fort Worth Millennials Buck the Trend, Still Yearn for Traditional Retirement

May 31, 2017 at 9:00 AM Eastern

Younger Americans across the country are saving long-term for financial freedom, while Dallas/Fort Worth residents and older Americans alike are saving for retirement. Sixty-three 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 (55 percent) and North Texas residents specifically (52 percent) are saving to leave the workforce. Compared to other surveyed markets, North Texas is the most likely to plan for retirement over financial freedom.

These findings are according to the latest Merrill Edge Report, a biannual survey of 1,000 mass affluent Americans1 that oversampled 300 Dallas/Fort Worth residents between March 21 and April 5, 2017. The report reveals significant differences between how Dallas respondents approach their financial futures compared to younger generations in the United States. 

“Dallas/Fort Worth residents are more likely than other regions to plan for a traditional retirement, while many others are shifting towards the new milestone of financial freedom,” said Ryan Deany, regional manager at Merrill Edge. “If the respondents plan to leave the workforce, it’s important for them to prioritize saving early and stick to it

Despite saving to leave the workforce, it appears they could be doing better. The report found Dallas residents are currently more likely to spend their money on travel (78 percent), their home (72 percent) and dining out (64 percent) than invest in their financial future after work.

Preparing for life’s “what ifs”

In line with national respondents who are saving less than 10 percent (42 percent) of their salary, 39 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth residents are saving less than 10 percent of their salary, including 6 percent who don’t save at all. This savings gap may be the reason why Dallas respondents don’t feel prepared for life’s “what-if” scenarios: 

  • Sixty-nine percent say they are not very confident they could achieve their financial goals if they had children.
  • Sixty-nine percent 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. 

Dallas/Fort Worth residents align with most Americans in thinking they could do a better job to prepare for life’s surprises. Three in five Dallas/Fort Worth residents believe individuals in the U.S. should be required to save for retirement, and 46 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 Dallas/Fort Worth residents and Americans alike are increasingly embracing recent industry advancements to make investment decisions and receive guidance.

Half of Dallas/Fort Worth residents say they make and manage their investments through an online or mobile portal. Dallas respondents cite this ability to invest via mobile makes them feel knowledgeable (48 percent) and empowered (31 percent).

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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