Defying naysayers, millennials highly value hard work, education

Millennials are ready and willing to learn so that they can get ahead, the findings from two new surveys suggest.

Though frequently billed as the "me-generation," millennials are now fighting back against this stereotype, evidenced by the overwhelming numbers who value education and hard work, a new poll suggests. It's the latest sign to financial professionals reluctant to take on millennial clients that their reticence may be misplaced.

"88 percent say working hard is necessary to get ahead."

Nearly 90 percent of millennials - who range between 18 and 35 years of age - recognize that it takes blood, sweat and tears to get ahead in life, according to a recent survey conducted jointly by Ernst & Young and the Economic Innovation Group. So much so, nearly two-thirds - 64 percent - would willingly uproot their families and relocate to a different part of the country if the payoff was a better career opportunity.

Being in the right place at the right time is often achieved through a quality education, something millennials don't take lightly. Sixty-six percent of millennials in the joint survey believed that having a well-rounded education was a crucial component to succeeding both in the working world and in life as a whole.

Fallout of recession impacted millennials
Millennials' mindset may be influenced by their upbringing, as many were in college or just graduating from there when the economy soured during the Great Recession. Nearly 80 percent of 18- to 35-year-olds worry that they won't be able to provide for their families due to lack of employment opportunities that pay well.

Kate Barton, EY Americas vice chair of tax services, indicated that millennials are more than willing to pay their dues, which is customary when just starting out.

"Many of them hope for an opportunity to climb the corporate ladder," Barton explained. "And while they truly respect entrepreneurship, they worry that they will not be able to overcome the significant financial and regulatory hurdles associated with starting a business."

"Millennials are more trusting of advisors handling their investment decisions."

Just 1 in 10 at ease handling own retirement strategy
At the same time, they well understand that their smarts can provide assistance in clearing those hurdles. But first, they need the skills that offer a boost, which many millennials seem to acknowledge when they don't have them. In a separate poll conducted by intelligence consulting firm Corporate Insight, only 11 percent of millennials indicated they were comfortable handling their retirement plans without any kind of assistance from professionals. Conversely, 50 percent of these same 18- to 35-year-olds would rather rely on the guidance of a financial advisor to help steer them toward smart investment strategies.

James McGovern, vice president of consulting services at Corporate Insight, stressed that financial professionals should not discount the significance millennials place in education, particularly as it pertains to money management

"To succeed with millennials, firms must recognize and respond to their need for financial education and guidance," McGovern said. "Flexible pricing and products, a socially conscious corporate philosophy, and all-around transparency are also important elements of an effective Millennial-focused value proposition."

He added that if possible, wealth management and financial institutions should offer mobile account services, as millennials are highly familiar with this type of technology.

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