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Preplanning and Millennials: The Motivations Behind the Movement

For the third year in a row, a study shows Millennials are planning ahead despite some economic uncertainty, especially in the housing market.

Funeral Pre-Planning for a Younger Generation

For the third year in a row, a study shows Millennials are planning ahead despite some economic uncertainty, especially in the housing market. 

A study of a cohort of almost 8,000 people between 25 and 44 by estate planning company Trust and Will reveals some interesting insights into what values have driven their decision-making. The study looked at what made the group’s choices different than others they surveyed.

Largest Living Generation

As Trust and Will explains, Millennials are now the largest living generation in the U.S., 22 percent of the total population. They’ve lived through world-altering events like 9/11, the 2008 financial crash, and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

They say, “Despite the instability — or perhaps because of it — millennials have become adaptable planners.”

Motivated by Family

As in previous years, the study showed the Millennials are motivated by family — especially parenthood — they love their pets, want to give back to charities, and prefer less traditional goodbyes. They are also more concerned with their digital legacy than older generations. They are motivated to get their ducks in a row by the birth of a child or the purchase of a house, among other life-changing events, whereas older people may do their planning because of different events like retirement.

Among the other findings of the 2023 study:

  • Seventy-eight percent of the group said building generational wealth was essential to them.
  • Seventy-four percent appointed a digital executor to handle their social media accounts and other digital assets.
  • Twenty-nine percent want to keep their emails, direct messages, and texts private from their families.
  • Sixty-seven percent of those earning $50,000 or less plan to give to charity. The most popular charity identified by the group was Planned Parenthood.
  • Seventy-one percent of pet owners in the cohort have a guardian named for their “fur babies.”
  • Thirty percent identify as “sandwich generation” with caregiving duties for children and parents.

Making Quality of Life Healthcare Choices

Eighty percent of Millennials outlined their healthcare choices when completing their documents. The majority (53 percent) want to receive care only if it will “outweigh its burdens, whereas older cohorts prefer care if it is possible to improve their condition. Most Millennials also choose to be organ donors.

Choosing Cremation and Alternative Celebrations

As in previous years, researchers also say the data shows millennials are moving away from traditional burial and funerals toward cremation and alternative celebrations and end-of-life customs. The study showed that 51 percent preferred cremation, while 22 percent wanted burial. However, alternative burials are increasing in popularity with the group. The Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was the most popular song Millennials chose for a future memorial service.

The Trust and Will researchers note that the oldest Millennials are now entering their forties, a time when many would hope to be comfortable in their prime, “establishing careers, building homes, and raising families.” The pandemic and its economic uncertainty have impacted these “peak” years but have not kept the group from planning ahead for their family’s futures.

You can read more about the study here.

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To learn more about changes in people's end-of-life preferences, take a look at our article Changing Landscape of Goodbyes: Study Shows More People Dying at Home.

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