personal finance

Wealth Watch: Nearly one in three millennials build $4,200 nest eggs during pandemic.

New York Life | October 26, 2021

Paused expenses during pandemic create increased savings opportunities for nearly half of Millennials.

Young woman on her phone smiling

New York Life’s latest Wealth Watch survey has found that during the pandemic, paused expenses including commuting, rent, and student loan repayments, have allowed some younger Americans to build up increased savings. The national survey of 2,200 American adults found that nearly two-thirds of Millennials (61%) experienced paused expenses and that nearly one in three overall (29%) were able to build up a nest egg averaging $4,241.21.

Historically, Millennials have been slow to build wealth due to higher costs for education, and increased housing expenses. However, paused expenses have given them liquid savings, providing opportunities to manage their growing nest eggs.

Younger generations more likely to seek financial guidance to protect nest eggs and leverage new savings toward financial goals

The survey found that 58% of adults are thinking more about their finances now than they were this time last year, and Millennials are no exception. Increased thoughtfulness, combined with newly accumulated savings, has signaled an increased willingness to work with a financial professional. In fact, over half of Millennials and Gen Zers (51%, and 53% compared to 33% of adults) said their nest egg savings made them more likely to consider getting help from a financial professional.

Younger generations have had a rare opportunity to consider their financial position and began to establish nest eggs. I’m encouraged by the degree of financial self-care and openness..."

Aaron Ball

SVP and Co-Head of the Foundational Business

“For some Millennials, the deferral or reduction in expenses associated with the pandemic have created a unique window of opportunity to build up a nest egg, potentially for the first time in their lives,” said Aaron Ball, SVP and Co-Head of the Foundational Business, New York Life. “While some of the expenses are starting to return, younger generations have had a rare opportunity to consider their financial position and began to establish nest eggs. I’m encouraged by the degree of financial self-care and openness to hands-on professional guidance as this group begins to plan for major life events.”

“This can bring up questions around how to protect those savings and develop a financial strategy to achieve financial goals such as purchasing a first home or having enough savings to feel secure in the face of an emergency.”

Next steps for protecting and continuing to build nest eggs

Financial priorities for Millennials tend to split the difference between long-term and short-term goals. Of those who were able to save, building emergency funds (43%), paying off credit card debt (32%), and affording a down payment on a home (29%) were the top-reported financial goals for Millennials. Establishing goals is an important step, but in order to achieve them, having a financial strategy is critical – something that may be new for many younger Americans.

Creating a holistic financial strategy to protect and grow savings is a key building block for one’s future prosperity – for many Millennial working professionals seeking to maintain their new nest eggs, considering income protection may be a natural next step.

Seventy percent of Americans would find it difficult to meet their current financial obligations—groceries, utilities, and mortgage/rent—if their next paycheck was delayed for just one week. Creating a strategy for income protection can help young professionals hedge against the financial risks associated with a necessary leave-of-absence from work. Options such as individual disability insurance can help mitigate financial fallout and protect a portion of their income that keep Americans and their families afloat for the time being when it’s needed the most.

Ball added, “One thing to keep in mind is that having your finances ‘figured out’ is not a pre-requisite to working with a financial professional – in fact it’s quite the opposite. Financial professionals can work with you to create a financial strategy and help you achieve your financial goals through all stages of life.”


Wealth Watch is a recurring survey from New York Life that tracks Americans’ financial goals, progress toward those goals and feelings about their ability to secure their financial futures, identifying key themes and trends that are emerging about topics like retirement planning, the role of protection-oriented solutions and the importance of financial guidance.


This poll was conducted between September 3 and September 10, 2021 among a national sample of 2,200 adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on gender, educational attainment, age, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.


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Media contact

Sara Sefcovic
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-4499