For Gen-Y, Life’s Big Moments Are Happening Later, Take Longer

Some major purchases and subsequent life events are being delayed as consumers — especially younger ones — are taking longer to make decisions, a survey being released today has found.

TruStage, the consumer brand of CUNA Mutual Group, released a survey of more than 1,600 consumers with questions asking about major financial life events they face. The survey focused on the financial decisions members made regarding vehicle purchases, home buying, the birth of a child, and planning for college and weddings.

Generation Y (18 to 34 year olds), typically the most connected and tech-savvy demographic, actually takes 18 days longer, on average, to shop for a car than those 45-54.

People are dating much longer now before getting married, therefore, delaying wedding-related purchases and big life events like buying a home or a car.

18-44 year-olds have underestimated how long it will take to graduate from college, despite rapidly increasing tuition costs and student loan debt. The survey revealed that this age group is actually attending college at least one full semester longer than they had planned. As a result, all the big life events that cascade after graduation — cars, homes, weddings — are postponed.

Retirement will take longer to reach. For those planning retirement, the expected retirement age is nearly 64 years. For those already retired, the average retirement age was 59 years. 71% of Gen-Y is planning for retirement substantially earlier in life, starting on average at age 24.

“When we took a deeper look at the survey results, we were surprised,” said Alan Bergstrom, Brand and Creative Services Director for TruStage. “Given the nature of our fast-paced culture, we anticipated these decisions would be happening faster, but the results show that many people are actually slowing down and taking more time to plan and decide.”

Bergstrom believes credit unions need to be asking some very important questions.

“How are economic, social or cultural factors affecting decisions and life event plans?” he asks. “What role does instant access to information and mobile technology play in the decision-making process?”

“When we learn about members’ mindsets and behaviors and how they continue to change, we can apply that knowledge to member connections and relationships.”


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