When he explains retirement funds to young adults, Chad Cooper has to get creative.

Cooper, an Albuquerque-based financial adviser, often translates retirement contributions into a language he knows 20-somethings will understand: Contributing $20 per paycheck to a 401(k) is the equivalent of not purchasing three drinks at Starbucks. That money will grow over time into a significant sum.

Still, Cooper’s younger clients often feel like they’re losing money instead of investing it. Some opt out of contributing to retirement plans. This phenomenon, he said, demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of financial concepts — including saving for retirement, investments and budgeting — among young people.

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