Given 30 Extra Years, Millennials Welcome Opportunity to Explore a Life Lived Differently

Allianz Life Study Shows Strong Desire among Millennials to Take More
Risks, but also Great Concern about their Ability to Achieve
Non-traditional Goals

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Americans are now living an average of 30
years longer
than a century ago, and millennials have emerged as the
most optimistic generation when it comes to embracing the new
possibilities afforded by this increased longevity. Despite being the
least financially prepared and most overwhelmed by the idea of long-term
planning, millennials showed a high level of interest in breaking away
from the traditional linear “school-work-retirement” life path in order
to take chances earlier in life, according to The Gift of TimeSM*,
a new study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
(Allianz Life®).


Nearly seven in 10 millennials (69% versus 58% of boomers and 68% of Gen
Xers) said they would prefer to “explore, experiment and travel” prior
to retirement and follow a different path in terms of how they learn,
work, partner and raise families. Similarly, when asked to design their
ideal longer life, more than half (52%) of millennials said they would
prefer a more non-traditional path, unique to their interests, where
they might work, take breaks, volunteer and try different things—and in
no set order.

Millennials also reported having a greater interest in taking advantage
of their 30 extra years by living more adventurously. This includes
traveling extensively (58% versus 54% boomers/56% Gen Xers), living in a
different city/state/country (41% versus 27% boomers/35% Gen Xers),
pursuing a dream like starting a business (36% versus 21% boomers/30%
Gen Xers) and taking more risks in life (29% versus 19% boomers/23% Gen
Xers).

In fact, millennials expressed the most regret about not taking more
chances in their past, with more than a third (38%) saying they wished
they’d been more gutsy in their choices and done things they really
wanted to do. As a result, a higher percentage of millennials recognize
the opportunity to experiment with different types of jobs and explore
alternatives in the future, including being more active in volunteer and
environmental work (23% versus 20% boomers/15% Gen Xers), pursuing
creative careers (20% versus 14% boomers/16% Gen Xers), and working
fewer hours but for more years (retiring later) (18% versus 15%
boomers/15% Gen Xers).

“It’s encouraging to see so much optimism and non-traditional thinking
from millennials about the possibilities afforded by increased
longevity,” said Allianz Life Vice President of Consumer Insights Katie
Libbe. “Their generation has the best opportunity to make life changes
and adjust the way we all think about the current path to retirement.
However, in order to make these shifts, millennials need much better
discipline in both their spending habits today and savings behavior for
tomorrow.”

Barriers – More than Just Money

Although the desire is clearly there, the challenge of pursuing a
non-traditional life path can be a harsh reality for millennials as they
have the least savings for retirement and non-retirement, the weakest
assets, the lowest home ownership and the highest debt among the three
generations surveyed. In fact, millennials reported an average of
$150,000 in estimated mortgage, student loan and credit card debt – 89%
higher than boomers ($79,000 total estimated debt).

As a result, money remains a major barrier for millennials when it comes
to planning for the future. Sixty-three percent of millennials cited
“worries about money” as the top thing that gets in the way of a
different approach for when/how we learn, work, couple and raise kids –
compared to 56% of boomers and 59% of Gen Xers. In addition, a higher
percentage of millennials (81%) said money was the top factor that got
in the way of making alternative choices in their lives, versus 70% of
boomers and 78% of Gen Xers.

Said Libbe, “It’s ironic that the generation that wants to distance
itself from the perceived constraints and trappings of money is the
generation most at odds with it. For many millennials, money is the
single most important factor dictating the direction of their lives.”

Fear of Being Judged

In addition to money, another factor holding millennials back from
following their dreams is lack of confidence based on judgment from
others. When asked whose opinions they care about more than they ought
to, millennials had the highest response for every category, including
“what my family thinks” (35% versus 25% boomers/31% Gen Xers); “ what
other people think” (29% versus 20% boomers/27% Gen Xers); “what society
thinks” (21% versus 9% boomers/14% Gen Xers ); and “what people at work
think” (13% versus 5% boomers/9% Gen Xers). Millennials also reported
being nearly twice as worried as boomers about others judging their life
choices (44% versus 24%).

Overwhelmed but Willing to Change

This lack of confidence with decision making has repercussions with
their finances, as millennials feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the
prospect of planning for longevity. When asked what is most difficult in
financially preparing for living 30 extra years, 30% of millennials said
they don’t know “where or how to begin,” higher than both boomer (14%)
and Gen X respondents (24%). More than a quarter (27%) of millennials,
also said that “just sitting down to start a plan” to address living
that long is “overwhelming.”

On the positive side, millennials seem to understand that they need to
save more money and plan better if they want to truly take advantage of
increased longevity. When asked about their first reaction upon learning
they’d live to age 100, the top 2 responses among millennials was “I
better start saving money” (44%) and “I better get serious about
financial planning” (41%).

“At first glance, the financial situation for millennials may look grim,
but that’s mitigated by their willingness to embrace a new model for
living longer lives and understanding of what it will take to get
there,” added Libbe. “I believe this generation can shift our
perceptions of financial planning and demonstrate that longevity can be
about following dreams, having a more flexible life and taking the road
less traveled.”

More from The Gift of Time Study

For more information about the study and to see examples of people
embracing longevity and choosing their own nontraditional life path,
visit www.allianzlife.com/TheGiftofTime.
In the coming months, Allianz Life will release additional data from The
Gift of Time Study.

About Allianz Life Insurance Company of North
America

Allianz
Life Insurance Company of North America
, one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best
Companies to Work For in 2016, has been keeping its promises since 1896.
Today, it carries on that tradition, helping Americans achieve their
retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuities and
life insurance products. In 2015, Allianz Life provided a total of $2.4
billion in benefit payments that supported policyholders’ financial
objectives. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities, Allianz Life
is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services
industry with 142,000 employees in more than 70 countries worldwide.
More than 85 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz
knowledge, global reach, and capital strength to help them make the most
of financial opportunities.

*The Allianz Life The Gift of Life Study was conducted by Larson
Research + Strategy via online survey in March, 2016 with 3,000 U.S.
adults ages 20-70 with a minimum household income of $30K+ and was
commissioned by Allianz Life.

Contacts

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Jeff Faust,
763-765-6614
jeff.faust@allianzlife.com
Twitter:
@AllianzLifeNews