Gen Y investors are cashed up and conservative, Gen Xers are focusing on growth portfolios and Baby Boomers remain cautious about investing, an annual DIY investor survey has found.

Gen Y are the most hopeful of earning double-digit returns despite wanting to take less risk, the RaboPlus commissioned survey of 503 DIY investors found.

Investors across three generations – Gen Y, aged 18 to 29; Gen X, 30 to 44; and Baby Boomers, 45 to 65 years – were surveyed to determine their values and what they consider the most important part of investing.

The research clearly showed a significant pull back in investor attitude to risk, compared to last year’s finding, RaboPlus investments manager Tim Hewson said.

“Last year, Gen Ys told us they were invested across all asset classes, and actively sought high risk adjusted returns,” Mr Hewson said.

“Now, they’re focusing in on fewer asset classes, condensing their portfolios and reducing diversification, and aren’t looking for short term gains.”

Gen Y’s conservative turn has eclipsed that of the Baby Boomers, according to the survey.

Forty-one per cent of Gen Y investors listed themselves as cautious and conservative, compared to 36 per cent of Boomers and 23 per cent of Gen Xers.

While Boomers are likely to opt for superannuation in the next 12 months, Gen X are more likely to consider managed funds and shares.

Baby Boomers are the least likely generation to consider investing in the property market, with only 29 per cent saying they would consider it compared with 57 per cent for Gen X, and 52 per cent for Gen Y.

In terms of expectations Gen Y lead the way with a rather hopeful expected return of 13.5 per cent, despite increasing their allocation to cash over the past year.

On the other hand, Gen X has lower expectations (9.5 per cent), even though they are more likely to consider shares, managed funds and bonds.

The research concludes that the older you are, the more realistic you have become about returns and the importance of a long term investment portfolio.

The survey was commissioned to Celsius Research and all those surveyed had portfolios of $150,000 or more.