Work may be a top driver for many of us, but a survey by U.S. Trust of 640 high net worth individuals found that it ranks No. 10 on their list when it comes to a life well-led. The three most essential factors were health, family and financial security.
However, there’s variation in what’s most important, depending on the generation. For millennials, meaningful work is most important, while for Gen Xers, financial security is most important.
Overall, half of the respondents said they struggle to balance priorities, says Keith Banks, president of U.S. Trust, which is part the private wealth management arm of Bank of America (NSYE: BAC). For millennials, 83 percent said they struggle to balance their work, family, social and financial lives.
An overwhelming 98 percent of respondents said that investing in their health was their most important asset, says Chris Heilmann, chief fiduciary of U.S. Trust.
Scott Farber, a U.S. Trust wealth strategist in South Florida, says he’s seen a shift in the past 10 years that has elevated the importance of preparing to handle health care expenses “People are living longer and they want to live comfortably; it’s definitely a concern,” he says.
That’s been coupled with a low interest rate environment for investors, he notes. “The idea of only investing in bonds and living on the interest is long gone.”
Millennials today have a different perspective when it comes to priorities, compared to what previous generations had when they were that age, Farber says. “I think you see a lot more consideration given to meaningful activities. People are buying smaller homes and having fewer possessions. It’s a new trend. I think it’s a different mindset in general.”
Gen Xers are putting weight on being financially secure, since that’s the way they can enjoy life, Farber says. That security can also allow them to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. “They have the work habits to be successful. They have the ideas. Now, they try to do something that’s fun.” ?