They're going to earn a million while paying back their student loans.

What age do millennials expect to retire? Let’s just say it’s much younger than most Americans predict.

Fifty-three percent expect to become millionaires, says a recent survey from TD Ameritrade. Meanwhile, 2 in 10 expect to never pay off their student loan debt.

“This is a financially optimistic group that’s feeling positive about the economy, the job market and their own plans,” says TD Ameritrade executive JJ Kinahan. “However, they will need to develop saving and investing habits that will help them reach some pretty big goals.”

What age do millennials expect to retire?

Despite so many millennials thinking they’ll be rich one day, 17 percent still live with their parents.

And, 24 percent think they’ll never own a home. Investing in a home to earn equity historically has been a practical way for Americans to save money for retirement. Not buying homes doesn’t stop the majority of millennials from saying they’ll retire at 56, though.

Odds are they’ll realize that’s not likely to happen as they get older.

The predicted retirement age goes up over time

Americans typically say they will retire at a later age as they get older, according to Gallup research.

“Young people interviewed 16 years ago were more positive about retirement than the people born in roughly the same years and interviewed today, some 16 years later,” Gallup reports. “It appears that a harsher reality sets in when Americans age into their 30s.”

Currently, the average retirement age among Americans is 66. That age has gone up from 60 in the 1990s. It’s safe to predict millennials will have a change of heart as they age, and encounter further financial hardships.

Life insurance company MassMutual gave an online financial literacy test to 500 millennials, and only 17 percent got a perfect score. This could explain why millennials predict to retire at such a young age — they just don’t know any better, yet.

But what can they do to make realistic retirement goals today?

Financial advice for millennials

The truth is, millennials probably won’t retire in their 50s — the generation has harsher financial obstacles than previous generations. previously reported that senior citizens admit millennials have it hard financially. The student debt crisis is growing and Social Security may be depleting. That’s at least what 55 percent of Americans, 65 and older, think will make retirement tougher on millennials, says a study from online lender LendEDU.

That leaves the question, what can millennials do to realistically prepare for retirement with the odds stacked against them?

“One of the greatest investments young people can make in themselves is to start putting money away in their 20s,” Kinahan says. “Because of the power of compounding. Even with ups and downs along the way, those who start early potentially can end up with more in the end.”

But of course, paying back a large sum of student loan debt makes it difficult to save money. In that case, Kinahan suggests exploring retirement benefits from work and speaking with a financial planner.

“Ideally, it would be wise to start right after college, and while some millennials certainly do that, we realize that’s not always possible,” Kinahan says. “Understanding all of the available alternatives, like employer-sponsored retirement accounts or brokerage accounts, can be a step in a right direction. And, if you’re not sure, talk to someone. The sooner you can get started, the better your financial prospects may be.”

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Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of

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Article last modified on December 19, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Millennials Want to Get Rich Without a Plan - AMP.