Survey Reveals New Era of Financial Independence as Millennials Seek to Redefine Retirement

Retirement Redefined as Gateway to Greater Flexibility, Not Necessarily an Exit from the Workforce

Millennials are Moderately Confident They’ll Have Sufficient Retirement Savings

Majority Won’t be Swayed by Taylor Swift’s Endorsement of a Presidential Candidate 

Pittsburgh, PA, March 11, 2024 – A new survey reveals how millennials are reshaping the retirement landscape, defining it by financial independence rather than an age-based benchmark. The study, which marks a new understanding of retirement planning’s shifting paradigms, surveyed millennials nationwide, shedding light on the evolving attitudes and behaviors surrounding their retirement readiness, retirement confidence, and consumer debt. The survey was commissioned by IRALOGIX, a retirement industry fintech provider, and took place in February 2024.

“Millennials are revolutionizing the traditional concept of retirement along with the very definition of the word itself, offering a fresh perspective unlike any other generation in the U.S.,” remarked Lowell M. Smith, Jr., co-founder of IRALOGIX and an expert on retirement matters. “The survey underscores a fundamental shift from what we previously understood: millennials don’t perceive retirement solely as a departure from the workforce. Instead, they define it as a stage of life characterized by enhanced career flexibility and an opportunity to pursue passion projects and hobbies, fostering personal fulfillment and making a meaningful social impact.”

Key findings follow below. 

Key Findings:

  • 51% say retirement is defined not by age 65 but by financial independence where they can indulge their lifestyles without relying on traditional employment; 24% noted retirement at age 65 (i.e., ceasing all work) is a goal they’re highly focused on working towards; and 16% responded that retirement is not necessarily an exit from the workforce, but a time of greater flexibility in their lives.
  • When asked if they see themselves retiring at some point, 47% of respondents said they will retire
    as soon as they can afford it,” and 22% will keep working, either because they “enjoy it or they don’t have sufficient retirement savings.”
  • Millennials are moderately confident (47%) that they will accumulate sufficient savings to someday retire; 29% have no confidence in their ability to save enough to retire.
  • When it comes to balancing short-term financial goals like vacations, buying a home, and paying down student loans/other debt with saving for retirement 62% indicated they try to “strike an even balance” between the two, and 29% are entirely focused on “living in the now” by focusing only on their short-term goals.
  • Millennials appear to be able to contain their consumer debt reasonably well, with 55% saying they have between $0 and $20,000 in debt, excluding their mortgages; 18% have up to $35,000 in debt. Just 11% say their debt exceeds $65,000.
  • The majority (55%) of respondents hold themselves accountable for ensuring they have sufficient retirement savings, while 25% say their employer is responsible, and 20% believe the government should provide their retirement savings.
  • Of those who answered “employer” to the previous question, 37% said to make a comfortable retirement viable, employers should offer a robust retirement benefits package like a 401(k) or similar plan along with a competitive employee match; 24% want a traditional Defined Benefit plan with investments selected by investment professionals, where the employer assumes all the risk and is required to pay the employee a fixed monthly sum when they retire 

Other Takeaways

  • When asked if they use technology like Robo-advisors, investment platforms, or AI to aid in their retirement planning, 60% said “no,” 28% answered “yes,” and 12% are “thinking about it.”
  • 61% make regular monthly contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k), 403(b), SIMPLE IRA, or SEP IRA.
  • When leaving an employer where they had a retirement plan in place, 25% rolled it over into their new employer’s plan; 27% rolled it into an IRA; 31% left it “untouched” with their former employer; and 16% withdrew the balance and spent it.
  • Despite her fame and fortune, Taylor Swift doesn’t appear to hold much sway over millennials. When asked if her endorsement of a particular presidential candidate would have any influence on their vote, 71% said “no.” Just 29% answered “yes,” or “I haven’t given it any thought but I will.”


The survey of 578 respondents was conducted online in February 2024 on behalf of IRALOGIX. Respondents, who skewed 56% female to 44% male, were drawn from a national sample of millennials, ages 28 – 43 with household incomes of $0 – $200,000 plus. To schedule an interview, or for a copy of the full survey results, please contact Scott Sunshine.