Singapore millennials have emerged the “most optimistic” age group when it comes to overcoming the current challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the UOB Optimism Index.

The Index, which measures how concerned consumers are about rising Covid-19 cases, continued restrictions, the economic impact from the pandemic and on their personal well-being and outlook, surveyed Singaporeans across all age groups from baby boomers (aged 56 and above) to generation X (aged 40 to 55), generation Z (aged 18 to 23) and millennials (aged 24 to 39).

Out of a maximum score of 100, millennials were the most optimistic at 54.7, followed by generation Z’s 52.5, generation X’s 51.0 and baby boomers’ 50.6.

Millennials were also the most optimistic, with 53% of respondents expecting a working Covid-19 vaccine to be available within the next 12 months.

When asked on whether life would go back to the way it was pre-Covid-19, millennials, again, were the most optimistic, at 61%.

Millennials are also the least worried about losing their jobs or being able to afford essentials during this period.

The confidence has led to millennials investing more during the pandemic, according to UOB. One in three have increased their investments and two out of five are planning to do so in the next six months.

Among UOB’s wealth customers, millennials had 30% more assets under management (AUM) as at end June compared to three years ago. The increase was also “substantially larger” compared to the bank’s wealth customers from other age groups.

“Coping with the pandemic has been an enormous challenge for individuals across different age groups. The UOB Optimism Index shows Millennials in Singapore have a rosier outlook than other generations and provide a burst of positivity amid the everyday struggles people are experiencing,” says Jacquelyn Tan, head of group personal financial services at UOB.

“The UOB Optimism Index also shows that Baby Boomers in general are more concerned about their finances given their shorter horizons and the higher likelihood their investments or retirement savings will be impacted by near-term market fluctuations and low interest rates,” she adds.

Across Southeast Asia, Singapore ranked in the middle of the Index with a score of 52.7, behind Vietnam (62.4) and Malaysia (53.8), but ahead of Thailand (52.0) and Indonesia (49.6).

The survey was conducted in July 2020, before the re-imposition of the conditional movement control order (CMCO) in parts of Malaysia in October 2020, as well as the establishment of a bilateral air travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong in the same month.

Despite the ranking, Singaporeans were the most optimistic ahead of its Asean neighbours on a number of measures including the resumption of international travel within 18 months.

This may be partly attributed to the circuit breaker measures that took place in the country from April to June, says UOB.

More respondents in Singapore also expect a vaccine to be developed within the next 18 months.

In Vietnam, some 80% of Vietnamese respondents expect that life will return to the way it was within 18 months possibly due to its relative success in keeping its number of confirmed Covid-19 cases low.

Comparatively, only 60% of respondents in Southeast Asia believe the same.

On a possible economic recovery in 2021, about seven in 10 respondents (70%) in Vietnam believe they will be financially better off in a year’s time, compared with the average of between four to six in 10 among respondents across the region.