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Millennials expect to be millionaires

According to a recent TD Ameritrade Survey, about 53% of millennials expect they will become millionaires in their lifetime based on “liquid” assets…not including the value of a home, business, etc. This survey definitely did bring me an always needed laugh.

Now, while I do admire the goal, as always the devil is in the details. Anytime I hear the word “expect”, it immediately brings up a sense of entitlement to me. But maybe that is just me. But on the flip side of that, if a millennial means they “expect” to become a millionaire as they will work harder than anyone to get there, be the best at what they do, etc. then I admire it and I hope they achieve their goal. I will be, and always am, the first to cheer someone on and support someone who is working hard towards a positive goal.

One big thing a millennial has in their favor is the value of money, and how it loses value over time. This means a million dollars in 10 years will not be worth as much as it is today, just like a million dollars 20 years ago (when I made my first million) was worth a lot more money than it is today. So that fact makes the goal just a little more achievable.

53% of millennials expect to be millionaires. So what is the rate today you may ask? While different studies say different things, in general the percentage of households that have one million or more in liquid assets ranges between 5 to 8%. Therefore millennials think they will be 10x more successful at hitting this goal! That discrepancy is what makes me laugh.

The data

However, now lets look into the TD Ameritrade data. While 53% of millennials expect to be millionaires, 17% of them are still depending on their parents and they are not financially independent. 20% do not feel they will ever pay off their student loans. Another thing that doesn’t make sense is millennials do not expect to start to even save for retirement by the age of 36. So all of those data points directly conflict with becoming a millionaire.

Not only do 53% expect to hit the goal of millionaire, but 7% expect it to happen by the time they are 30! Another 19% by 40 years of age! Another 16% by the age of 50. So 26% of millennials expect to be millionaires by the time they are 40. Just a little unrealistic.

There was some interesting demographic data. About 30% don’t expect to have kids, and about ¼ do not expect to get married and/or own a home. Those data points are definitely different than demographics of older generations.

I can’t tell you how many people I have mentored, met, read about, etc. that think it is easy to be successful. Or easy to become wealthy. Or easy to become a millionaire or top one percent. Anyone who thinks it is easy quite frankly needs to wake up. No I am not saying this survey says millennials think it is easy, but anytime I say a huge discrepancy (53%) vs reality (4-8%) it does seem to bring up some questions on how achievable is it?


Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

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