A survey of the high and ultra-high net worth by U.S. Trust paints a picture of millionaire millennial households that is vastly different from the lifestyle patterns of Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers.
The survey, which looked at households with at least $3 million in investable assets, found that 30% of millennial women who are married or in a partnership are the primary income earners in their homes. That’s more than double the 11% of Gen-X women who are the main breadwinners and 14% of Baby Boomers.
“We are seeing a major shift in the expectation of gender roles in a family. Many women are empowered to pursue their careers as top priorities and this creates a dramatic swing in the percentage of women who are the main breadwinners in their families,â€ says Brian Wineke, market executive at U.S. Trust.
“Women comprise a substantial part of the workforce by choice. We have remarkable women leaders in every field who serve as role models. A bread winner is not defined by gender. Family life is important to all, but the decision about whom is responsible for what in each family is now a personal decision not a cultural one,â€ he adds.
Perhaps one reason more millennial women are able to work and earn more is because more millennial men are stepping up when it comes to childcare. Twenty-five percent are the primary caretakers for their children versus 7% of the Gen-X men surveyed.
“Gender roles are less defined and immutable in the millennial generation. Generating income and raising a family are shared responsibilities, and stereotypes about who takes on those responsibilities are much less prevalent in this generation. … These are decisions that families should make based on their unique circumstances, goals and lifestyles,â€ says Wineke.
Feeling the Squeeze
U.S. Trust also found that Millennials – often criticized for being the stay-at-home generation because some share homes with family members – are feeling “sandwiched” and are struggling to find balance between the financial needs of aging parents and their own needs.
Nearly a third of the Millennials surveyed live with a parent and/or grandparent. About a quarter have provided financial support to their parents or in-laws, and 14% have personally paid long-term care costs for aging parents or in-laws. Providing financial support for parents has been no easy task. Two-thirds of those surveyed say financial assistance to families has come at the expense of meeting their own financial goals.
“High-net-worth individuals of all generations must prepare for the expense of medical care for themselves and their families, as well as the costly long-term care that many of them envision. Â Once one has planned for health, including elder care, for one’s family and legacy, and created investment portfolios that reflect one’s reality and values, it takes a lot of the pressure off,â€ says Wineke.
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