Please consider the polling results of a Study on the American Dream.

What Best Describes Your Views?

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Key Findings

  • 3% of Millennial live the American Dream.
  • 16% of Boomers live the American Dream.
  • 25% have abandoned the American Dream.
  • 11% overall (13% of Millennials) never believed in the American Dream in the first place.
  • 52% (54% of Millennials) believe the American Dream is possible.

Top Ingredients of the American Dream

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Key Findings

  1. 56% of Millennials prioritize home ownership vs 68% of Baby Boomers.
  2. 49% of Millennials prioritize retiring comfortably vs 73% of Baby Boomers.
  3. 41% of Millennials prioritize having children vs 36% of Baby Boomers.
  4. 38% of Millennials prioritize car ownership vs 42% of Baby Boomers.

Point two is bound to change as Millennials get closer to retirement.

Points 1 and 4 are secular changes making the Fed's attempt to inflate much more difficult.

Point 3 is peculiar and likely subject to interpretation error.

The ability of Baby Boomers to have kids at this point is very restricted. The same applies to the question about getting married.

Motivators to Buy a Home (Non-Homeowners)

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Only 8% of millennials have no interest in buying a home compared to 46% or boomers.

This is despite the fact that 56% of Millennials vs 68% of Baby Boomers prioritize home ownership.

Home Ownership Plans

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Key Findings

  • 29% of Millennials who purchased a home dipped into retirement income.
  • 19% of Millennials who plan to purchase a home expect to dip into retirement income.

If they are forced to sell for any reason and have a loss they have a bad tax consequence.

Regrets

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Reason for Regrets

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A whopping 68% of millennials who bought a home now have regrets. Only 35% of Baby Boomers have regrets.

The latter statistic is likely skewed to the downside.

Why?

Many Baby Boomers lost their homes in the Great Recession. I suspect most of them have regrets but were not sampled in the survey.

Also, many boomers who may have regretted their purchase a short while ago have no been bailed out by the Fed. There has been few comparably few bailout of Millennials.

Attitudes on Debt

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This is a poor set of questions, especially the way two answers are lumped together.

Key Finding (Derived from 2nd Question)

  • 68% of boomers are not comfortable carrying debt.
  • 56% of Millennials are not comfortable carrying debt.

The second question suggests boomers have learned something that Millennials haven't.

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But we do not have breakdowns and the question is subject to interpretation errors.

Possible Interpretation Errors

  • Does credit card debt paid off every month constitute debt?
  • Is a car loan debt?
  • Might some respondents view mortgage debt as debt and others not?

If the answers to those questions are random, it might not matter. But Boomers might easily think differently about those questions than Millennials and thus answer differently as a group.

Either way, it would have been far better had the survey not lumped two answers together.

Investment Horizon

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Safe Investing Question

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Financial Crisis Question

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Despite Millennials saying time allows them to be more aggressive, it appears they haven't done so.

But what does "aggressive" mean.

Might it mean one thing to Boomers and another to Millennials?

At this stage in the bubble, even passive index funds might easily be considered "aggressive".

Investment Vehicle Question

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Biased Interpretation

Here the question is perfectly valid.

The study's interpretation of the answer is as biased as can be.

The study comments "This reluctance to invest is demonstrated by Millennials’ underutilization of investing accounts that could help them build wealth for retirement."

What a crock.

Boomers most often worked for companies that had retirement plans. Millennials can not say the same thing, at least to the same degree.

Millennials also have a need to pay down student debt. Few Boomers do.

Not investing means "no money" and/or "no corporate plans" as opposed to "reluctance".

Men vs Women Investing Confidence

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This one is quite interesting. But it is missing Bitcoin.

Confidence

  • 69% of men confident about private equity? Really?
  • 64% of men confident of futures? Really?
  • 56% men confident on derivatives? Really?

Are men simply more confident than women about everything? Or do they just claim to be?

I suspect the latter.

California vs Rest of US

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Conclusion

Despite some poor questions and biased interpretations of some answers, this was an enjoyable and informative poll on the attitudes of Millennials vs Baby Boomers.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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