According to the recent Legg Mason Global Investment Survey, millennials around the world have high investment return expectations but are admittedly conservative in their approach, and considerably short-term minded.
More specifically, the survey of 1267 millennials around the world found that they expect an 11% annual average rate of return on their portfolios. U.S. millennials have the most ambitious expectation at 14% on average while those in Europe expect far less at 8%.
In spite of their expectations, the largest asset in the average millennial’s allocation entering 2016 was cash.
Global millennial average asset allocation going into 2016:
- 24% cash
- 19% equities
- 18% real estate
- 17% fixed income
- 9% non-traditional
- 9% gold/metals
- 4% other
U.S. millennials were most likely to say they were conservative investors (78%), well beyond the global average of 61%. Millennial investors in Asia were most likely to consider themselves aggressive (46%).
More than three-quarters (78%) of global millennials admitted they have become more risk averse than one year ago.
Short View of Long Term
Asked to define a “long-term” investment horizon, 35% of millennials said long-term was defined at 2-years or less, while 26% said 2-5 years, 25% said 5-10 years, and 13% said more than 10 years. Only those in Australia showed a longer-term bias, with 36% saying more than 10 years defines long-term investing.
“Millennials are clearly conservative investors and we wonder if history isn’t the reason why,” said Matthew Schiffman, Managing Director and Head of Global Marketing for Legg Mason. “My generation came of age as investors during the risk-on environment of the 1980s when we were rewarded for taking risk. However, my parents were depression-era kids whose memories left them extremely cautious investors. Today, at least in the U.S., millennials have come of age as investors during a tumultuous period – from the dot com bust to the Great Recession. Like my parents’ generation, perhaps millennials’ conservative approach to investing has been defined by the history of their lives.”
Mr. Schiffman continued: “The question we have to ask is, ‘with longevity increasing and all the attendant costs associated with it, by not investing in more growth-oriented assets where risk and return are commensurate, are millennials putting themselves at risk downstream in terms of capital formation?’”
Millennial Investors Are Global Minded; Use ETFs for Equity
Almost nine in ten (86%) global millennials said they invested on average 24% of their portfolios outside of their countries; and 83% said they would be more focused on international investments in 2016 than they were in 2015.
They see China, Russia, U.S., Japan and Mexico as the five countries with the highest investment risk.
When it comes to how they invest in equities, 91% of global millennials said they have equity investments in ETFs – with a high of 97% in the U.S. and a low of 82% in Australia.
Comfort the Primary Goal
The top three investment goals of millennials around the world are:
- To enjoy a comfortable life (68%)
- Save for children’s’/family education (38%)
- Build a retirement nest egg (32%)
Far more U.S. millennials (45%) said their goal was to retire early/quit their job versus the global average of 28%.
The most millennials focused on investing in order to start their own business someday were in Latin America (43%) versus the global average of 22%.