Lifestyle Trends: Boomers, Gen X and Millennials

Lifestyle Trends: Boomers, Gen X and Millennials

Investing, homeownership, charitable contributions and health & wellness are four of the most prominent lifestyle trends among wealthy Millennials. Although there was no clear trend information available for the specific age/income parameters provided, affluent Millennials as a general cohort are among the most widely scrutinized by the media, researchers and corporations, and these themes were selected due to their significance and general acknowledgment by a variety of credible sources.

Millennials

1. Investing

Financial Wealth
Investable Assets
FAs
  • Additionally, PricewaterhouseCoopers and The Financial Brand assert that Millennials’ expectation for “online and digital functionality” has made “digital functionality” an essential part of doing business among investment providers, and “opened the door for non-bank investment management alternatives” who are more agile in meeting this cohort’s unique demands.
  • Lastly, high-net-worth Millennials are attributed with driving the “rise in popularity” of sustainable and/or social investing, and the integration of ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) options within investment portfolios, per Barron’s and The Financial Brand

2. Homeownership/Real Estate

  • In conjunction with a unique level of interest in investing, home and real estate ownership was selected as a parallel lifestyle trend among affluent Millennials based on the assertion of population experts (e.g., Business Insider, Edelman, Coldwell Banker, WealthEngine) and supporting statistics.
  • According to Edelman and Coldwell Banker, wealthy Millennials also stand apart from other cohorts based on the priority they are currently placing on buying homes and real estate overall.
Homeownership
Real Estate
  • Specifically, 58% of affluent Millennials and 92% of Millennial millionaires have purchased their own home, compared with just 41% of their generation overall.
  • In addition to home buying, however, wealthier Millennials are just as likely to have as many as three properties on average and over a million dollars in real estate assets.
  • This differentiated prioritization of homeownership and real estate acquisition is partly due to the belief among this cohort that “real estate is key to wealth creation,” according to WealthEngine.
  • Irrespective of such underlying drivers, Business Insider, Coldwell Banker and WealthEngine are among the industry experts who assert that this trend in home and real estate ownership is shaping a variety of related markets, including home building, home improvement and debt/financial services.
  • Specifically, affluent Millennials are driving demand for real estate in the “suburbs or second-tier cities,” expanding tangential home improvement industries and creating opportunities within mortgage debt markets.
Home Improvement

3. Charitable Giving

  • Charitable giving was chosen as another lifestyle theme among wealthy Millennials based on the identification of this trend by Coldwell Banker, WealthEngine and Forbes.
  • Although charitable giving is a “big trend” among Millennials overall, WeathEngine and Coldwell Banker report that millionaire and other affluent Millennials are much more likely to donate (56%) than the rest of their generation (35%).
Charities
  • According to WealthEngine, the driver behind this trend is the interest among affluent Millennials to “use their wealth with purpose,” by making a difference and/or improving the world.
  • Coldwell Banker adds that this cohort has a particular interest in donating to “causes they care about,” with 70% reporting that they will give or spend more with brands and organizations that support such initiatives.
  • Ultimately, the level and focus of charitable contributions by wealthy Millennials has “important implications” for the decision-making and marketing practices of industry professionals, per Coldwell Banker and Forbes.
  • Perhaps the most significant impact of this trend, according to Forbes, is the fact that affluent Millennials are “poised to become a driving force donations” across charities and the philanthropic industry at large.

4. Health & Wellness

  • Lastly, health & wellness was identified as a key lifestyle trend among affluent Millennials based on associated reporting by industry experts (Business Insider, Coldwell Banker, WealthEngine).
  • In a fashion similar to charitable contributions, Coldwell Banker and WealthEngine report that health & wellness is an “emerging trend” among all Millennials, but is particularly noticeable among the most affluent of this generation.
  • Specifically, well over half (62%) of the wealthiest Millennials report that health & wellness is a personal priority.
  • Coldwell Banker and WealthEngine add that this heightened level of interest in health & wellness manifests itself in a variety of ways, including:
  • Overall, Business Insider asserts that “entire industries are developing or adjusting services to cater to” this lifestyle trend among wealthy Millennials.
  • Some of the most notable market impacts include the new focus on eco-conscious building practices among developers (e.g., LEED, WELL Building standards) and the rise of new luxury wellness treatment products (e.g., cryofacials, vitamin IV drips).

Gen X

Although there is limited, publicly available information regarding the interests, priorities and other characteristics of affluent Gen Xers (both in general as well as according to the provided definition), relevant research indicates that a focus on retirement and family are two lifestyle trends among this somewhat lower-profile cohort.

1. Retirement Focused

Moving South

2. Family-Centric

  • Family and its influence on shaping overall lifestyle choices was selected as another key trend among affluent Gen Xers based on the reporting by population researchers (e.g., Capital Group) and supporting statistics.
  • Although the influence of family is generally cited as a significant lifestyle trend or priority among all Gen Xers, it is particularly important for high-net-worth individuals within this generation.
  • Perhaps most notably, 60% of affluent Gen Xers report that being a parent is a “very important part of their identity.”
  • As such, this priority influences a variety of other lifestyle decisions, including financial planning and travel.
  • For example, wealthy members of Generation X are two times more likely than other socioeconomic peers to state that their “financial choices are influenced by family .”
  • Additionally, Gen Xers tend to prefer “family or group-focused options” when selecting a vacation.
  • Overall, the priority that wealthy members of Generation X place on family when making decisions directly impacts a variety of tangential industries including financial services, travel and even employer benefits, which must cater to the mindset and interests of this substantive source of consumer spending.

Baby Boomers

While the preponderance of public discourse surrounding affluent Baby Boomers focuses on this cohort’s accumulation of wealth, rather than their lifestyle preferences, available information indicates that VIP sightdoing and omnichannel media engagement are two lifestyle trends specific to this group.

1. VIP Sightdoing

2. OmniChannel Media Engagement

  • Lastly, omnichannel media engagement was chosen as another notable if somewhat counter-intuitive trend among affluent Baby Boomers, based on the identification of this trend by credible media outlets (e.g., Retail Dive) and population researchers (e.g., Deloitte, Visa).
  • As early as 2017, the Luxury Institute found that affluent Baby Boomers were already becoming heavy users of non-traditional media outlets as a source of entertainment and information.
  • Despite the fact that their Millennial counterparts are more often associated as participants across digital media, the latest available research indicates that high-net-worth Baby Boomers engage in digital media at surprisingly high levels, including social media (60%), online radio (41%), online video (53%) and DVR (70%).
  • This embrace of emerging forms of media, however, has not undermined the cohort’s longstanding engagement with traditional media outlets, such as reading newspapers and magazines (2.87 hours per week) and watching television (7 hours per week).
  • According to Retail Dive and Visa, this growing lifestyle trend among wealthy Baby Boomers towards embracing omnichannel media outlets has significant implications for marketers, retailers and financial institutions.
  • For example, the fact that affluent members of this cohort “regularly travel between media” requires brands and their advertising teams to move beyond a “blanket-approach” by age group to reach these consumers.
  • In parallel, the fact that affluent Baby Boomers are “making more purchases online via computers, smartphones and other devices” while “visiting traditional stores and using a physical card less frequently” similarly requires retailers as well as financial institutions to adapt the way they cater to the most affluent segment of the “most valuable generation.”

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