Millennials Don’t Contribute to IRAs Because They Don’t Know What They Are

We aren’t receiving proper financial educations before starting our careers.

It’s pretty tough to save for retirement if no one ever told you how to go about it.

According to a recent survey, that’s the case for a strikingly high number of millennials. Turns out young people don’t want to contribute to IRAs without understanding what the hell they are.

How irresponsible of them.

From the Washington Post:

But the fifth annual TIAA IRA survey indicates that a surprising number of people don’t understand them, especially millennials. And of those who do understand them, many say they simply cannot afford to save another dime … Thirty-five percent of millennial respondents who aren’t contributing to an IRA said they don’t know enough about them to consider using one.

Sure, you can type, “What’s an IRA?” into Google and get a bunch of hits, but if you don’t understand the jargon in the first place that won’t do you any good. Here, give this a run and see how far you get before smashing your head on your keyboard.

The issue is that millennials aren’t receiving a proper financial education before starting their careers. Try telling a young worker to syphon funds from their paychecks into an account they won’t see until they’re 70 and see how that goes; especially considering most already have debts to pay on top of electricity bills for their shoebox apartments.

If they don’t understand why they’re stashing that cash or where the money is going, chances are they’ll give that option a hard pass. But with fewer companies offering retirement plans of their own, individual savings plans are becoming more of a necessity.


Luckily, there are several IRA companies that do provide financial advice. But the fact remains that this education needs to start sooner. Teaching someone the basics of different retirement plans would take all of two hours. The fact that this isn’t already part of a core education is, quite frankly, pathetic.

Check out our breakdown of IRAs if you want to start making your own moves.


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Cover image: Shutterstock


Posted 07.12.2016 - 02:46 pm EDT

Filed under

Education Finance News

Written by

Michael Gorman