Millennials vs. boomers: How wide is the gap?

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It’s no secret there are a lot of differences between Baby Boomers, born between 1946 &1964, and Millennials, born after 1980. But when it comes to finances, there may not be as much difference in some areas as you might expect.

See if you can guess which generation is more likely to have made the following statements:

Boomer or Millennial?

  1. I have enough money to lead the life I want, or believe I will in the future.
  2. My high school degree has increased my potential earning power.
  3. I rely on my checking account to pay for my day-to-day expenses.
  4. I consider myself a conservative investor.
  5. Generally speaking, most people can be trusted.
  6. I’m worried that I won’t be able to pay off the debts I owe.

Answers

  1. Millennials — According to a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center, Millennials were more optimistic about their finances than any other demographic. Roughly 85% of Millennials said they either currently had enough to meet their financial needs or expected to be able to live the lives they want in the future. Just 60% of Boomers said the same thing.
  1. Boomers — The ability of a high school education to provide an income has dropped since the Boomer’s last senior prom, while a college education has never been more valuable. In 1979, the typical high school graduate’s earnings were 77% of a college graduate’s; in 2013, Millennials with a high school diploma earned just 62% of what a college graduate earned. In 2013, 22% of Millennials with only a high school diploma were living in poverty. In 1979, just 7% of Boomers with a high school diploma were in the same boat.
  1. Boomers — Not surprisingly, Millennials are far more likely than Boomers to use alternative payment methods for day-to-day expenses. A study by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation found Millennials are almost twice as likely to use prepaid debit cards (31% compared to 16% of Boomers). They’re more than six times as likely to use mobile payment methods, such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet.
  1. Millennials — In one survey of U.S. investors, 31% of Boomers identified themselves as conservative investors. By contrast, 43% of Millennials described themselves that way. Interestingly, Millennials outscored Boomers on whether they wanted to leave money to their children (40% vs. 25%).
  1. Boomers — In the Pew Research survey “Millennials in Adulthood,” just 19% of Millennials said most people can be trusted while 31% of Boomers said the same.
  1. Millennials — However, the differences between the generations might be as significant as you might think. In the FINRA Foundation financial capability study, 55% of Millennials with student loans said they were concerned about being able to pay off their debt. That’s not must higher than the 50% of Boomers who were worried about debt repayment.
 Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016.

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