Emerging Adult Clients Want to Retire Earlier, but Aren't Yet Prioritizing Retirement Planning, Edward Jones Survey with Industry Financial Advisors Finds

News release | Dec. 12, 2023

St. Louis, Dec. 12, 2023 – According to new research from Edward Jones and Morning Consult, financial advisors across the industry report their emerging adult clients (ages 18-34) want to retire at 61, three years ahead of clients 35 to 64 years old. Despite this earlier age, emerging adults, known as GenNext for being the next generation of workers, heads of households, consumers, and investors, haven't started planning for retirement just yet.

The research sought to understand how financial advisors will need to pivot their discovery conversations as they seek to provide deep personal relationships and comprehensive planning and advice to the next generation of clients and investors.

GenNext's Financial Priorities

Instead of focusing on retirement, financial advisors report that GenNext clients are prioritizing other aspects of their lives including planning for a family (30%), being responsible with everyday expenses (28%) and investing (23%).

Despite a wide array of financial priorities, financial advisors in Edward Jones' latest survey reported their emerging adult clients as thriving (42%). When comparing their conversations with clients in the same age range a decade ago, financial advisors across the industry say GenNext are now in a more favorable position regarding their financial stability.

"We know from our research with emerging adults ages 18-34 that they want to be comfortable or have enough money to have a meaningful life, but they aren't concerned with financial accumulation or career in the same way," said Julia Bartak, an Edward Jones financial advisor in the Kansas City area. "This means financial advisors will have very different conversations with GenNext clients about comprehensive planning and advice, including budgeting, saving for a big purchase or achieving other short- and long-term financial goals."

What GenNext Seeks in Advice

In another recent study conducted by Edward Jones, in partnership with Next360 Partners and MarketCast, according to GenNext, only 12 percent discuss their finances with a financial advisor today. An overwhelming 68 percent of GenNext don't think they have enough income or savings for professional financial advice, despite being the most educated generation in history with one in three having some college education and access to information. That may change in the future though -- more than three-quarters (78 percent) do not currently work with a financial advisor, 41 percent say they plan to someday.

Although GenNext has grown up with the internet, they value and prioritize face-to-face connections including in the financial advisor relationship. The GenNext study showed 66% of GenNext prefer in-person interactions with their financial advisors.

“It is encouraging to hear that GenNext is putting a value on deep personal relationships,” said Nolan Jeter, a financial advisor in Atlanta. “Whether it’s planning for tomorrow or retirement later in life, we as financial advisors draw on our vast experience and resources to ensure we’re helping clients achieve what is financially most important to them at all stages of life.”

With many GenNext clients experiencing or aspiring to experience traditional life events such as marriage, home ownership, or eight in 10 who have or want children, there is an opportunity for financial advisors to help clients set long-term goals as they juggle jobs, school, gig work and more.

To learn more about GenNext, visit edwardjones.com/financialfuture.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted by global data intelligence company Morning Consult among 200 financial advisors nationally from October 14-16, 2023.The survey complements research released by Edward Jones, in partnership with MarketCast and NEXT360 Partners, LLC, conducted a mixed-methods study combining a nationwide online survey executed by MarketCast July-Aug. 2023 (among a U.S. national sample of 2,003 adults ages 18–34 years old) combined with interviews, focus groups and cognitive mapping conducted by NEXT360 Partners with GenNext participants in Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, NC; Cleveland, OH; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Denver; Los Angeles; Phoenix; and Raleigh-Durham, NC.

About Edward Jones

Edward Jones is a leading financial services firm in the U.S. and through its affiliate in Canada. The firm's more than 19,000 financial advisors serve more than 8 million clients with a total of $1.8 trillion in client assets under care at the end of September 2023. Edward Jones' purpose is to partner for positive impact to improve the lives of its clients and colleagues, and together, better our communities and society. Through the dedication of the firm's approximately 52,000 associates and our branch presence in 68% of U.S. counties, the firm is committed to helping more people achieve financially what is most important to them. The Edward Jones website is at www.edwardjones.com, and its recruiting website is www.careers.edwardjones.com. Member SIPC.