YOUR MONEY-Net worth should not be a mystery to millennials

Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:00am EDT
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(The author is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are her own.)

By Bobbi Rebell

NEW YORK, April 26 (Reuters) - Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to one big number for millennials: their net worth. The vast majority of millennials (73 percent of those 18 to 34) have no idea what they have versus what they owe, according to a new survey from Harris Poll conducted for online money manager Personal Capital (

John Piazza admits he is one of them, although the Chicago-based banking executive says he has a "decent idea" of his net worth (assets such as cash and mutual funds minus liabilities like student and credit card debt). Piazza estimates that about 80 percent of his friends do not have a handle on their total financial picture.

"It's time-consuming to gather all the disparate information together initially, and then it's a laborious process to update it going forward," Piazza says.

While it may be a hassle, not knowing where you stand now makes it much harder to plan for where you need to be later in life, especially for retirement, says Kyle Ryan, a certified financial planner, who is the head of advisory services at Personal Capital.

It is even harder to get a handle on the numbers for those who have an outsized vision of what they might inherit down the road - which might dim their motivation to save now. The Personal Capital survey on retirement readiness found that millennials expect to inherit about a million dollars, on average.

The average inheritance in the United States is just $177,000 according to a 2013 HSBC survey.

Counting on any kind of windfall, regardless of size, is a risky business. It certainly does not merit giving up on saving for retirement - as some 40 percent of millennials respondents did on Personal Capital's survey by saying they had no retirement plan of any kind started yet.   Continued...