UK millennials are big dreamers but have short-term savings strategies

F&C Investment Trust have new findings revealing millennials' desire for financial knowledge.
February 2018


  • Almost two in three UK millennials (10m) have “traditional life” goals
  • Yet 7.8m millennials do not have savings or investments in place to help them to achieve their life ambitions
  • F&C Investment Trust have new findings revealing millennials’ desire for financial knowledge

UK millennials are keen to follow in their parents’ footsteps as almost two thirds of 18-35 year olds hope to achieve traditional life goals in the next 10 years. However, as many as half (50%) may never realise their aspirations unless they make pivotal life changes to their money habits, according to new research by F&C Investment Trust and BMO Global Asset Management

The Millennial Money Survey – a study of over 4,000 UK adults aged 18-35 – found buying a property, getting married and having a family are top ambitions for 10m (64%) of millennials; however, 7.8m people risk missing out on a brighter future because they don’t hold any long-term savings or investment products.

Debunking millennial money myths

The study also debunks some myths that millennials do not have good money habits. Almost seven out of ten (68%) plan to save more money in 2018 than they did in 2017, with over a third (35%) doing so by making changes to daily habits, such as eating out less or ditching takeaway coffee; or spending less on socialising (30%). Millennials are hopeful that ditching their morning coffee and spending less on going “Out Out’ will help them see the world (42%), get that all important first step on the property ladder (38%) or buy a car (26%).

While there is room to improve millennials’ financial understanding, a majority of them do exercise good money habits, with six out of ten (60%) admitting they would rather miss out on special occasions than borrow money so they can attend. While debt is a fact of life, many millennials prefer to avoid ‘going into the red’ as three in five (60%) do not have an overdraft and two in five (40%) do not have a credit card.

Barriers to saving and investing

Despite a clear desire to build a healthy nest egg, 18-35 year olds say that paying essential bills (61%), lack of earnings (41%) and debt (39%) are preventing them from saving money regularly. Buying non-essential items, such as take away food or drinks, prevents far fewer (17%) from saving money than some might expect. The same issues prevent them from investing. But some (32%) admit that the risk of losing money is a barrier to investing; and others (30%) feel a lack of knowledge or understanding about the options available is stopping them.


The survey found that many millennials have a strong desire to improve their financial knowledge. Younger adults would like education about saving (21%), managing debt (12%) banking (12%) and buying or selling property (9%). However, millennials are most likely to say that they want more help or education with investing (25%).

F&C Investment Trust wants to help young adults understand the benefits of investing so they can make their money work harder and achieve their life goals. Commenting on the findings, Ross Duncton, Managing Director, Head of Marketing & Direct, at BMO Global Asset Management, who manage F&C Investment Trust, said:

“UK millennials simply aspire to achieve what previous generations have enjoyed; and they do it with a fortitude that helps them survive in a post-credit-crunch world. While some have debt, it’s clear that the majority are far from a reckless generation. In reality, most are sensible spenders who want to take more control over their money, despite a lack of formal financial education and income. Our research reiterates how small a leap many millennials need to take to help brighten their financial futures; many only need to shift their money mind set slightly to get their money working harder, and in turn help them achieve their ambitions.

We’ve been committed to helping everyday savers achieve their long-term goals for the last 150 years and look forward to the next 150 as we continue to help younger generations build bright futures. As part of our 150th anniversary celebrations we will be working with young people across the UK to illustrate why taking those first steps into investing, without taking excessive risk, can help them achieve their life goals.”

  1. According to the Office of National Statistics, there are 15,630,488 18-35 year olds living in UK (source: ONS: Population estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland mid-2016). Based on the ONSfigure, F&C Investment Trust calculates 10,003,512 millennials have a traditional life goal; and 7,815,244 millennials don’t have a long-term savings product.
  2. For this study, F&C Investment Trust considers UK millennials to be adults living in the United Kingdom, aged between 18 and 35 in December 2017 and January 2018.
  3. Methodology: On behalf of F&C Investment Trust, Explain the Market Ltd conducted online surveys with 4,053 UK adults aged between 18 and 35 in January 2018. Explain The Market also conducted 60 qualitative interviews with 50 UK adults aged 18-35, and 10 UK adults aged over 35 (either family members or friends with millennials; all the interviews were conducted in January 2018, first by telephone for screening questions and then a mix of face-to-face and online.
  4. The Millennial Money Survey is supported by BMO Global Asset Management, which is the asset management firm for F&C Investment Trust.



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