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,” 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,” 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,” 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. 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,” says Wineke.
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