They’re the furthest from retirement, but it’s still one of their main goals.

A lot of millennials aren’t interested in retirement — and it looks like they’re even less interested in having kids.

Far more millennials (90 percent) say they would name saving for retirement a main goal, than those that would prefer raising a family (40 percent), says a study from Principal, a retirement planning company.

Of course the study isn’t all about millennials; its focus was on retirement plan participants ages 23 to 51, which includes Gen X.

How they’re saving

Of that group, 91 percent listed saving for retirement as one of their main goals. Here are some of the ways they are cutting back to save for their golden years…

  • 47 percent say they’re driving older cars
  • 45 percent live in modest homes, while 18 percent of millennials continue renting instead of buying
  • 42 percent say that they don’t travel often
  • 40 percent say they put up with work-related stress
  • 27 percent put in extra hours at work

Millennials married with children

Millennials’ perspectives on marriage, children and retirement do greatly differ compared to previous generations.

Today more young people value their education and their careers. More young adults are prolonging traditional milestones in life like marriage and children to focus on school and work.

Finishing school ranks as the highest milestone in adulthood, with 60 percent of people saying it is important in becoming an adult, says a Census Bureau report that compares the behaviors of 18- to 34-year-olds from 1975 to 2016. Financial security ranked second in the transition from childhood to adulthood.

About half of adults believe having a full-time job that can support a family is important as an adult. Even though over half of Americans say that marrying and having children are not very important in order to become an adult, and only a third think they are.

In the 1970s, eight in 10 people were married by age 30. Now, eight in 10 people are married at age 45.

“What is clear is that today young adults look different from prior generations in almost every regard: how much education they have, their work experiences, when they start a family and even who they live with growing up,” the Census Bureau report said. “It comes as no surprise that when parents recall stories from their youth, they are remembering how different their experiences were.”

In 2014 Pew reported a record number of Americans who have never married. One in five adults 25 and older had never been married. In 1960 only about one in 10 adults that age had never married.

In 2016, more than a million millennial women became moms. Raising the number of U.S. millennial mothers to 16 million, which is now the majority of U.S. births.

Data shows that millennials are waiting longer to become parents. Forty-two percent of millennial women were moms at ages 18 to 34, whereas 49 percent of Generation X women were.

Retirement … maybe?

Millennials are worried about being able to afford retirement. Eighty-two percent anticipate higher healthcare costs in the future, and 56 percent said they’re concerned Social Security and pensions were declining, says a study from HSBC.

Most millennials say they will be self-funding their retirement. Though millennials are worried about paying down student loans, retirement could seem like the furthest priority to save for. Surprisingly, many started saving for retirement at 25.

“Many millennials may see … large expenses — especially student loans and other debt — as primary obstacles to saving anything for retirement,” Jerry Patterson, Principal senior VP of retirement.  “But in most situations, it’s possible and necessary to both save for retirement and pay down debt by creating a plan and sticking to it.”

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Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of


Gen X, millennials, parents, save money

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Article last modified on August 17, 2017 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Millennials Would Rather Save for Retirement Than Raise a Family - AMP.