Generation Y millionaires take more risks, take more advice

Baby Boomers looking a little dull...

Next-gen millionaires are more bullish investors than their older generation counterparts, with almost four in ten buying into high-risk asset classes such as venture capital and derivatives.

That’s according to new research by US-based financial services firm Fidelity Investments, which surveyed over 540 individuals with investable assets of at least $1 million.

It found that eighty-one per cent of Generation X and Y millionaires – those up to 48 years old – said they preferred to pursue aggressive investment strategies, compared to 27 per cent of the baby boomers.

Wealthy next-gens also had a more diversified investment portfolio than the older generation. 51 per cent of Gen X and Y millionaires, for example, owned foreign currency; 43 per cent invested in international individual securities; 39 per cent bought into venture capital; and 38 per cent chose derivatives. The baby boomers’ figures (respectively) were 6, 27, 12 and 10 per cent.

In the short term, the next-gens surveyed planned on making changes to their portfolio, while 39 per cent of the baby boomers were more conservative and didn’t plan on adding anything until the end of the year.

But the younger HNWs weren’t just more bullish about investing, they were also more confident about their own abilities, with 71 per cent considering themselves knowledgeable about investing, compared to 44 per cent of their old-generation counterparts.

Asking for advice

Perhaps surprisingly, then, the report found that next-gens millionaires were also more likely than the older generation to turn to financial advisers for investment recommendations, with 92 per cent using a financial adviser, compared to 68 per cent of the baby boomers.

According to the study, the financial crisis was the main reason why the young HNWs sought financial advice, with 69 per cent of those surveyed admitting doing so because of more volatile market conditions. This compared to only 17 per cent of the baby boomers.

However, next-gens remained very much involved in their investment decisions, with those working with an adviser saying they independently managed almost half of their own assets. In comparison, baby boomers HNWs who have financial advisers said they managed only a third of their wealth by themselves.

61 per cent of the Gen X and Y millionaires also said they made their own investment decisions but used advisers as sources of information and to get a second opinion. Only six per cent admitted to delegate their decisions entirely to an adviser, compared to one in five of the baby-boom generation.

According to the report, next-gen millionaires tended to use other people as their sounding board when making investment decisions. Apart from their advisers, they were more likely to turn to family and friends, with 23 per cent of those surveyed doing so, compared to only thirteen per cent of the older generation.

Work hard, play hard

But younger millionaires aren’t just focused on how to maximise their money, the research found. In fact, they were more likely to indulge in comforts than the older generation. Eighty-seven per cent of Gen X and Y HNWs, for example, spent their holidays abroad every year, compared to only 56 per cent of the baby boomers. Similarly, 63 per cent of the next-gens millionaire owned a second home and nearly four in ten flew first class, compared to 21 and 5 per cent respectively for the older generation.

And if they liked to spend more, Gen X and Y millionaires also liked to give more, as they averaged $54,000 in annual philanthropic donations, compared to $12,000 for their older counterparts. They also volunteered more of their time to charitable causes, with 82 per cent volunteering or serving on charity boards, compared to less than 50 per cent for the baby boomers. 

This piece first appeared on Spear's Magazine

Read more by Giulia Cambieri

Photograph: Getty Images

This is a story from the team at Spears magazine.

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The rise of the green mayor – Sadiq Khan and the politics of clean energy

At an event at Tate Modern, Sadiq Khan pledged to clean up London's act.

On Thursday night, deep in the bowls of Tate Modern’s turbine hall, London Mayor Sadiq Khan renewed his promise to make the capital a world leader in clean energy and air. Yet his focus was as much on people as power plants – in particular, the need for local authorities to lead where central governments will not.

Khan was there to introduce the screening of a new documentary, From the Ashes, about the demise of the American coal industry. As he noted, Britain continues to battle against the legacy of fossil fuels: “In London today we burn very little coal but we are facing new air pollution challenges brought about for different reasons." 

At a time when the world's leaders are struggling to keep international agreements on climate change afloat, what can mayors do? Khan has pledged to buy only hybrid and zero-emissions buses from next year, and is working towards London becoming a zero carbon city.

Khan has, of course, also gained heroic status for being a bête noire of climate-change-denier-in-chief Donald Trump. On the US president's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Khan quipped: “If only he had withdrawn from Twitter.” He had more favourable things to say about the former mayor of New York and climate change activist Michael Bloomberg, who Khan said hailed from “the second greatest city in the world.”

Yet behind his humour was a serious point. Local authorities are having to pick up where both countries' central governments are leaving a void – in improving our air and supporting renewable technology and jobs. Most concerning of all, perhaps, is the way that interest groups representing business are slashing away at the regulations which protect public health, and claiming it as a virtue.

In the UK, documents leaked to Greenpeace’s energy desk show that a government-backed initiative considered proposals for reducing EU rules on fire-safety on the very day of the Grenfell Tower fire. The director of this Red Tape Initiative, Nick Tyrone, told the Guardian that these proposals were rejected. Yet government attempts to water down other EU regulations, such as the energy efficiency directive, still stand.

In America, this blame-game is even more highly charged. Republicans have sworn to replace what they describe as Obama’s “war on coal” with a war on regulation. “I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations,” Trump announced in March. While he has vowed “to promote clean air and clear water,” he has almost simultaneously signed an order to unravel the Clean Water Rule.

This rhetoric is hurting the very people it claims to protect: miners. From the Ashes shows the many ways that the industry harms wider public health, from water contamination, to air pollution. It also makes a strong case that the American coal industry is in terminal decline, regardless of possibile interventions from government or carbon capture.

Charities like Bloomberg can only do so much to pick up the pieces. The foundation, which helped fund the film, now not only helps support job training programs in coal communities after the Trump administration pulled their funding, but in recent weeks it also promised $15m to UN efforts to tackle climate change – again to help cover Trump's withdrawal from Paris Agreement. “I'm a bit worried about how many cards we're going to have to keep adding to the end of the film”, joked Antha Williams, a Bloomberg representative at the screening, with gallows humour.

Hope also lies with local governments and mayors. The publication of the mayor’s own environment strategy is coming “soon”. Speaking in panel discussion after the film, his deputy mayor for environment and energy, Shirley Rodrigues, described the move to a cleaner future as "an inevitable transition".

Confronting the troubled legacies of our fossil fuel past will not be easy. "We have our own experiences here of our coal mining communities being devastated by the closure of their mines," said Khan. But clean air begins with clean politics; maintaining old ways at the price of health is not one any government must pay. 

'From The Ashes' will premiere on National Geograhpic in the United Kingdom at 9pm on Tuesday, June 27th.

India Bourke is an environment writer and editorial assistant at the New Statesman.

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