By Craig Bannon

With the oldest Millennials now into their 40s, RBC and Ipsos recently conducted research to ask this generation (ages 27 to 42) how they were feeling about their finances today and for the future. What our annual RBC Financial Independence Poll showed us is that Millennials are growing increasingly anxious about their financial future.

According to the poll findings, cash flow and balancing expenses and savings top the list of financial concerns for Millennials. A majority (85%) say they are worried about their cash flow and are concerned about how to balance covering day-to-day expenses with saving for the longer term. Half (49%) are also more anxious about their financial future.

The good news is that we found Millennials are keenly focused on making the most of the money they have, so they can become financially independent. But what does that mean? For more than half of Millennials (56%), financial independence means being debt-free and for two-in-five (40%) it’s about having money to invest.

How and why are Millennials investing?

In our survey, we asked Millennials to share why they are investing. They called out a number of financial goals they want their investments to help them achieve, including:

  • retiring comfortably (46%)
  • building a safety net (45%)
  • building wealth (42%)
  • providing family protection/safety (34%)

But for many, likely in part due to the current economic environment and rising costs, they haven’t been investing. Fewer than one quarter (23%) of Millennials responded they put money toward building an investment portfolio over the last year.

The Millennials who are investing are choosing a wide range of options, such as stocks (25%), pension plans (25%), mutual funds (24%), Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) or term deposits (18%) and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs, 14%). And almost half also say they are willing to pay fees for the opportunity to gain a better return on their investments (49%).

A better return on investments can mean a better return on life

Investing has always been about more than money. Whether you want to buy your first home, finance opportunities for your family, or cross a destination off your bucket list, a better return on investments ultimately means a better return on life.

The first step is to understand what you want your investments to do for you — what goals do you have in mind? Talking this through with an advisor can help you explore what you want to achieve.

At RBC, for example, our advisors will work with you to build an investment strategy that matches your goals to help you live the way you want. Advice from RBC is also readily available through MyAdvisor — a digital advice platform which has now connected more than 4 million Canadians to their personalized plan, with the ability to adjust those plans in real time. In addition, MyAdvisor can connect you with an advisor via video chat, online or in person. By helping you stay digitally connected with your finances, particularly through ‘real time’ online resources, we are making it easy for you to see how even small savings and investment actions can have a big impact on reaching your financial goals.

Working with an advisor can help you build confidence to invest

We understand that day-to-day market fluctuations can cause anxiety, but we also know how important it is for you to remain focused on mid to long term goals and invest what you can, when you can.

If you’re one of the Canadians who may be hesitant to invest at the moment, we want to help you move past that reluctance so you can start investing — or begin again — to gain the opportunity to grow your savings. Otherwise, it’s going to be hard for you to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.

We know that Millennials, like all Canadians, have big life goals. Money well invested can help make it possible to achieve those goals and experience the good things in life, in the near and the longer term.


Craig Bannon is the Director of Regional Financial Planning Support for RBC. For more information, please check out Canadians can also freely access RBC’s comprehensive My Money Matters online advice and resources hub to help them on their investing and financial journeys.


This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. The information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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