Major purchases that correspond with major life events are being delayed by 18- to 34-year-old credit union members, according to a new survey released Monday by TruStage, the consumer brand division of CUNA Mutual Group of Madison. Wis.
The survey asked 1,600 credit union members about major financial life events they face in 2013. 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.
The survey uncovered several revealing generational trends when it comes to making major life purchases and decisions, including:
• Generation Y (18–34 year-olds), typically the most connected and tech-savvy demographic, takes 18 days longer, on average, to shop for a car than those 45–54.
• People are dating much longer now before getting married, which delays
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.
• Retirements are taking 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.
“When we took a deeper look at the survey results, we were surprised to see that it’s taking longer to make major financial decisions and purchases,” explained Alan Bergstorm, brand and creative services coordinator for TruStage. “Given the nature of our fast-paced culture, we anticipated those decisions to happen faster, but the results show many people are actually slowing down and taking more time to plan and decide.”
Bergstorm said the survey uncovered that 18- to 44-year-olds attending college at least one full semester longer than they had planned. Consequently, the big moments usually associated with post-graduation–the car buying, weddings and home buying–are delayed.
The survey also found 18–34 year-olds are planning to retire at a significantly older age than preceding generations. But 71% of this group is planning for retirement substantially earlier in life–starting on average at age 24.
“This presents an opportunity, as our survey indicated, (because) this generation considers credit unions to be one of several ‘trusted sources’ for help in planning retirement,” Bergstrom said.
Based on this survey, Bergstrom believes credit unions should be asking important questions such as what does this information mean for credit unions? How are economic, social or cultural factors affecting decisions and life event plans? 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,” he said.