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Retirement Insecurity: A Multi-Generational View

Many Millennials may be overwhelmed by student debt and living in their parents’ basement. But at least they have their health.

As overall obesity rates rise to record levels, Millennials are the only generation to see a decrease in obesity in the past eight years, according to the 2016 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Perhaps more committed to a healthy lifestyle, Millennials have an obesity rate of 20.1%, compared to 32.5% for older generations.

Generally born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials are the youngest generation in the full-time workforce, and recent statistics show they are significantly more likely to exercise and avoid smoking than older generations. To them, health means all-around wellness and satisfaction in life rather than just the traditional “absence of illness“ mindset of previous generations.

Younger adults still struggle with stress, with 47.4% of Millennials reporting daily stress compared to 38.8% of older generations. The older generations, however, have seen a slight increase in stress, while the number has remained the same for Millennials from 2008 to 2015, the Gallup-Healthways index found.

How and why are your Millennial clients staying healthier? Preventive measures such as eating fresh, healthy food and exercising regularly seem to take precedence over annual doctor exams, which could be due to rising health care costs. While older generations may not have been as proactive in their youth, Millennials seem to better understand the connection between health and wealth.

Their awareness of rising health care costs means they’re more apt to invest their money and efforts toward fitness and higher-quality foods, taking care of themselves proactively rather than depending on an expensive health care system later in life.

You might learn a lot about your Millennial clients by discussing healthy habits and how they affect their savings and spending habits, or vice versa. If Millennials continue to smoke less, exercise more, and eat healthy, it’s possible that longevity will continue to rise.

If so, your youngest clients will want and be around to discuss their health and financial behaviors for many years to come.