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Hey Boomers, Millennials are the Only Thing Saving Your Retirement from a Recession

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:10 PM
Mark Emem
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:10 PM

Millennials have been stereotyped as avocado toast-loving lazy and entitled narcissists living off their parents. But according to one wealth manager, the spending power of Generation Y is what could be keeping bullish hopes for the stock market alive.

Speaking to CNBC, Canaccord Genuity’s chief market strategist Tony Dwyer stated that millennials have entered a new phase in their lives where they are more financially empowered  and thus contributing significantly with their purchasing power.

The strategist added that Generation Y has been in the workforce for years now. Consequently, millennials are beginning to spend like other generations ahead of them. This, according to Dwyer, could ‘help buffer the economy from a more significant slowdown’.

3.5% unemployment rate boosting the generation’s economic prospects

While millennials are considered to have been the worst hit by the Great Recession, the strong jobs market has turned around the situation. And with millennials in a stage of life where they are starting families, this could serve as a boost to consumer discretionary stocks, per Dwyer:

“If a household is fully employed, they have income and they can go to the bank and get a home equity line of credit or credit card debt or whatever a bank is willing to lend them, you have some pretty consistent spending behavior as we’ve seen over the past 10 years.”

Baby boomers are heavily invested in stocks as part of their retirement plans. Fidelity estimates that for 8% of baby boomers, equities comprise their entire 401(k) holdings . Three years ago the figure was even higher.

Dwyer’s view that millennial spending could stave off a recession, however, contradicts an opinion held by investment analyst Travis McCourt. The analyst recently stated that millennials are saving more than is healthy for the economy. This is unlike the baby boomers who McCourt described as the ‘primary income and spending generators’.

The windfall awaiting millennials courtesy of baby boomers…

The optimism surrounding millennials’ improving economic prospects is not restricted to Dwyer though. A Coldwell Banker report released last week revealed that besides the jobs boom, millennials are set to benefit from a wealth transfer from their baby boomer parents. In the next couple of decades, $68 trillion is expected to be passed down from baby boomers to millennials.


By 2030, the report estimates that the wealth Generation Y holds today will have grown by five times following the wealth transfer:

“From a big-picture viewpoint, millennials will likely receive the greatest wealth transfer in modern history — from the baby boomers.”