No matter the age, money is top of mind for many, but how do money habits, including saving and spending, differ among generations? We surveyed 1,000 millennials and baby boomers from across the U.S. to see just how much they’re saving, and what they like most to spend on. Millennials surveyed were between the ages of 21 and 41-years old, and baby boomers were 58 to 76-years-old.
When it comes to saving money, the majority of both millennials (87%) and baby boomers (86%) have savings accounts. However, there’s a difference among the generations on when they started saving. 50% of millennials say they started saving money when they were 17-years-old or younger. For baby boomers, it’s a bit different, with 23% saving money after they were 30-years-old and 21% saving before they were 9-years-old.
There are a few things millennials and baby boomers can agree on when it comes to savings, 53% of millennials, and 61% of baby boomers say the most important thing to save for is an emergency fund. Additionally, 1 in 4 millennials say the most important thing to save for is a house, compared to 16% of baby boomers. As for future planning, just 5% of millennials say the most important thing to save for is retirement, compared to 13% of baby boomers.
Across the generations, the majority report having savings goals. The average amount a millennial currently has in savings is $38,192, compared to $150,425 for baby boomers.
It’s no surprise, both groups wished they had more in savings (95% of millennials and 90% of baby boomers). When it comes to just how much more they wished they had saved up, the average for millennials is $188,035 and for baby boomers is $486,755.
Investing is a way people across all generations try to make the most of their money. 55% of millennials invest in the stock market, compared to 52% of baby boomers. As for cryptocurrency, 40% of millennials have invested in it, and 49% say they understand what it is. 20% of baby boomers report investing in cryptocurrency, with slightly less (33%) understanding what cryptocurrency is.
Both generations report planning for retirement. 56% of millennials and 67% of baby boomers currently have a retirement fund. Meanwhile, 20% of millennials believe they’ll be able to realistically retire at 65-years-old, 19% at 75-years-old, and 15% at 70-years-old.
16% of baby boomers believe they’ll be able to retire or retired at 62-years-old, 15% at 70-years-old, and 14% at 65-years-old.
Part of having money is also spending it. For millennials, 21% say their favorite thing to spend on is travel, 13% say self-care, 12% for investments, and 11% like to spend money on restaurants/bars.
More than half (53%) of millennials have a monthly budget, and of those who do, 78% have succeeded in following it. Meanwhile, 51% of baby boomers have a monthly budget, and of those who do, 57% have been successful following it. Yearly budgets aren’t as popular among both generations with only 18% of millennials and 28% of baby boomers reporting having them. Both millennials and baby boomers like to know what they’re spending on, with 69% from both generations tracking their expenses.
44% of millennials spend $0-49 per year on sports tickets, compared to 73% of baby boomers. Additionally, 16% of millennials and baby boomers gamble.
There’s no question the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, 34% of millennials and 40% of baby boomers have stopped spending as much money since the pandemic began.
When it comes to debt, 39% of millennials report having credit card debt with the average amount totaling $2,668. Whether or not it’s because they’ve been living longer, slightly more baby boomers have credit card debt (43%) with an average total debt of $4,029.
Millennials may be the generation of iced coffee and avocado toast. 27% of millennials say they would spend $6 on an iced coffee, while only 9% of baby boomers would shell out that money for a cup of joe. Meanwhile, 36% of millennials and 38% of baby boomers say they would pay $100 to have their home cleaned.
In March 2022, we surveyed 1,000 Americans, millennials (aged 26-41-years old) and baby boomers (aged 58-76-years-old), to ask them about their money habits. 49% of respondents were male and 48% of respondents were female.
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