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Learn, Earn and Retire at Any Age

Learn, Earn and Retire at Any Age

| February 03, 2020

Millennials are do-it-alls and have-it-alls — in a good way. Research shows they far outpace other generations in focusing on these life priorities:1

  • Traveling
  • Having a rewarding career
  • Being recognized for accomplishments
  • Enriching their intellectual horizons
  • Looking great

In other words, millennials expect to have fulfilling jobs that earn them kudos, but to never rest on their laurels and to always keep learning. Plus, they intend to travel the world while looking fabulous. (Sleep, apparently, is not a priority.)

Kidding aside, millennials are rewriting the “life stage” playbook. Rather than compartmentalizing their journey into pre-, mid- and post-career periods, they are blending learning, earning and enjoying life in a continuum.

What can the rest of us learn from millennials’ desire to embrace all of life in the moment?


We know that learning ties to financial empowerment. College graduates earn approximately $1 million more over their lifetimes than high school graduates — and the gap increases with more education.2 But did you know that being a lifelong learner, as millennials so far tend to be, can also help reduce stress, delay cognitive decline and increase lifespan?3 Take educational tours, listen to TED talks, master a hobby, monitor online courses, read more. Enriching your brain will expand your horizons at any age.


Many millennials are opting for “portfolio careers,” amassing skills and experiences to build their value in the employment market or to start their own businesses. It’s a good model to follow. (And here are some ways to build your own career stock, while we’re at it.) The other takeaway is that many millennials say they don’t plan to retire. That philosophy squares with the research:  being engaged with meaningful work as we age is linked to better emotional and physical health.4 When tailoring your own retirement plan, consider ways you can continue to contribute your skills to others.


The most financially and emotionally confident Americans balance work-life responsibilities.5 Millennials take it even further. They’re not waiting for retirement to live their best lives. Harnessing digital technology, they’re blending the professional and personal in a holistic way to gain greater flexibility over how, where and when they work and play. This sense of control helps them avoid burnout even in demanding roles and drives high fulfillment, with 74 percent of millennials reporting they are satisfied with their lives.

No matter where we are on life’s journey, the moment that matters most is right now, and maybe there is an opportunity to learn from the millennial mindset to add greater satisfaction, control and fulfillment to your life.


[1] From Smartphones to Smart Planning: Millennials want and need digital and human experiences to achieve financial confidence, Guardian Life Insurance Company, 2016

[2] A College Degree is Worth $1 Million, MarketWatch, May 8, 2015.

[3] Lifelong Learning Is Good for Your Health, Your Wallet, and Your Social Life, Harvard Business Review, Feb 7, 2017.

[4] When It’s Healthier Not to Retire, Next Avenue, Feb 15, 2018.

[5] From Concerned to Confident: The Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence™, Guardian Life Insurance Company, 2016.

2018-71574 Exp. 12/2020