Millennials are having a tough time saving for retirement—and some are struggling with the whole notion of retirement.

It’s not that they want to continue working, according to a new research study from the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) and the Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK)—it’s more that planning, and saving enough, both seem to be beyond them.

Plenty of them are thinking about it, in contrast to popular belief.

In fact, while 68 percent of those aged 20–37 said they are saving for retirement, only 29 percent indicated they are actively planning for retirement.

That makes it tough, because without a plan, how will they know whether they’re saving enough?

They also seem to be focusing on “strategies” that leave more to luck and chance than to planning.

That could be an outgrowth of their somewhat fatalistic attitude toward retirement, which has been remarked in numerous previous studies.

Here’s a look at 10 ways millennials deal with retirement planning.

Photo: Getty

1. Debt reduction.

The main step millennials are taking to prepare for retirement is to focus on reducing the money they owe.

That’s the top priority for 77 percent of millennials, who will have to chip away for a long time to get rid of all those student loans.


Photo: Getty

2. Sixty percent say it’s easier to diet than to plan for retirement.

With an attitude like that, it’s no wonder millennials could be in trouble when the time comes to collect that gold watch—oh, wait, nobody does that any more.

Still, they might be able to test that theory if they don’t save enough money to pay for food once they’re out of the workplace for good.


Photo: AP

3. Playing the odds.

Would you believe that more than a quarter of millennials are actually incorporating chance into their retirement planning strategies?

Yup, it’s true—15 percent are planning on a lottery win.

Another 11 percent are hoping for some generous benefactor to give them enough money to finance retirement. Only 29 percent say they’re actually actively preparing (as opposed to saving) for retirement.

Say, didn’t The Millionaire end its TV run years—no, make that decades—ago?


Photo: AP

4. Spending less.

Have they noticed that prices that go up for such essentials as food and rent don’t usually come down?

Apparently not, because 70 percent of millennials are deluding themselves that they’ll be able to get by with spending less than $36,000 per year.

That’s 30 percent less than the current national average, $46,757, for those aged 65–74. And that’s in today’s dollars, not adjusted for inflation at the time they hit retirement age.

In what universe is that going to work?


Photo: Getty

5. Giving up.

No positive thinking here. More than half of millennials are really pessimistic about the notion of retirement—28 percent believe they won’t be able to retire when they want to, and another 28 percent think they’ll never be able to retire.

In addition, 65 percent figure that they won’t get any meaningful income from Social Security.

Of course, they have time to change that, but if they’re giving up anyway…


Photo: AP

6. Paying their parents’ bills.

Half of millennials expect that they’ll be writing checks for their parents’ expenses come retirement—theirs, that is, not their parents’.

So, retirement? Not gonna happen if all the money’s going elsewhere.


Photo: AP

7. Cutting off the kids.

They may not expect to have much money, and they may be planning on paying parents’ bills, but the same is not true for their kids, nosirree.

Millennials are more likely, the study said, than boomers or GenXers to say they’re going to cut their kids’ financial apron strings as soon as they hit 18.

Interesting, considering that their parents are likely helping to pay their bills at present, considering all those college loans and such…


Oprah Winfrey (photo: AP)

8. The celebrity effect.

Reality check—whether they’d like it or not, Oprah is not going to be millennials’ financial advisor.

That’s in spite of the fact that 32 percent of millennials picked her as their top choice.

Less than half (48 percent) chose Warren Buffett instead.


Photo: Getty

9. The personal touch.

Millennials want handholding when it comes to advice on how to plan for retirement, with 62 percent saying that they want a financial professional to walk them through every step of the process.

In fact, 87 percent of the connected generation wants face time with a financial advisor, should they decide to use one.

Only 19 percent said they’d consider a robo-advisor.


Photo: AP

10. (Not) getting an advisor.

You might think millennials were actually interested in having advisors (whether Oprah Winfrey or Warren Buffett) to help them plan for retirement, considering how much attention they say they want from them.

But you’d be wrong, if you judge by when they say they’d actually get an advisor:

  • when they’re drowning in debt (61 percent)

  • when at or near retirement (62 percent)

  • when they receive that inheritance (73 percent)

Not so many plan on getting an advisor after getting promoted at work (30 percent), getting married (42 percent), or having a child (45 percent).