In a strange quirk, millennial investors have a greater allocation to fixed income than older generations according to a recent survey from Charles Schwab. Millennials currently have 45% allocated to fixed income, while Generation X and baby boomers have 37% and 31%, respectively. Looking ahead, 51% of millennials plan to buy fixed income ETFs next year while 45% of Generation X and 40% of baby boomers plan to do so.
Of course, this is contrary to the conventional thinking that younger investors should have greater capacity for risk given that they have a longer timeframe to ride out volatility to earn higher returns. However, this conservative positioning could be a reflection of the extraordinary events that have taken place over the last couple of decades which have likely shaped their attitudes. These include the dot-com bubble, the financial crisis in 2008, and the pandemic.
Thus, many millennial investors are focusing more on reducing risk with their high levels of exposure to fixed income while eschewing equities. According to David Botset, the head of strategy and product at Schwab Asset Management, stocks are the ‘growth engine’ of a retirement portfolio so underexposure could have negative long-term implications.
Finsum: Millennial investors have lived through unusually volatile markets which have impacted their thinking and led to an overallocation to fixed income.