With financial uncertainty looming over many people across the UK, we thought it would be interesting to have a look at which attitudes to finance across different generations. Not only is it interesting to see how your generation approaches money, but knowing this information can also help us as individuals become more aware of our current financial situations.
Table of Contents
Our analysis is based on data collected from YouGov profiles, representing the views of more than 360,000 individuals from different age groups - Gen Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers. By examining their attitudes, behaviours, and financial literacy, we aimed to shed light on how these factors vary across different age groups.
According to the research, 28% of Baby Boomers (59-77 years old) report that they are comfortable with their present income. In contrast, only 15% of Gen Z (27 years and below) feel the same way.
The research additionally uncovered that despite differences in income, Baby Boomers and Gen Z share a similar mindset when it comes to financial preferences. Notably, both generations consider a bank's trustworthiness to be a critical factor in their decision-making process, unlike Millennials who prioritise interest rates and Generation X who place equal value on both factors.
Generations and Their Attitudes
Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation is known for its prosperity and economic growth and is often regarded as independent and self-assured. The research revealed that Baby Boomers are the most comfortable with their income (28%) which may be due to factors such as having a longer time in the workforce and more established careers.
Baby Boomers are also the most carefree about saving, with only 29% worried that they will never be able to save for a rainy day. Additionally, the research revealed that they were the generation most likely to have a credit card, with only 18% reporting that they do not have any.
Born between 1965 and 1980, this generation is often considered the "middle child" between Baby Boomers and Millennials. They may have experienced economic instability and are known for their resourcefulness and liberal views. Generation X struggles considerably financially, with 22% finding their current income difficult to cope with.
When it comes to their attitude towards the bank, Generation X, unlike Boomers and Gen Z, considers the trustworthiness of a bank and interest rates equally. Generation X shares the title with Millennials as ‘the most concerned about saving’, with 51% worried that they will never be able to save for a rainy day.
Born between 1981 and 1996, this generation is often associated with the digital age and changing societal values. Individuals in this age bracket most likely entered the workforce during the Great Recession and are known for their financial struggles, including high levels of student debt. Millennials consider interest rates the most when choosing a bank (18%) and as mentioned above, they share the burden (51%) with Generation X regarding saving concerns.
Born after 1996, this generation is often considered the most tech-savvy and socially conscious. Reasons for this may include the fact they have grown up in the aftermath of the Great Recession and are still establishing themselves within the workforce. Only 15% of Gen Z feel comfortable with their present income, making them the least content generation financially. The research also revealed that Gen Z is the generation least likely to have a credit card, with 55% saying they do not have any. Like Baby Boomers, Gen Z values the trustworthiness of a bank when deciding who to go with.
While there is quite a bit of distinction between each generation, some generations are more similar than may be thought.
In regard to attitudes, the study revealed that the older generations tend to be more traditional in their financial behaviour. For instance, Baby Boomers, who are the oldest generation in this research, are more likely to trust traditional investment opportunities with 70% agreeing with the statement “Cryptocurrencies are not to be trusted”.
On the other hand, younger generations such as Gen Z and Millennials tend to be more open to new financial technologies and services, with 35% of both generations claiming they do not mind taking risks with their money.
In terms of saving habits, the study found that Millennials and Generation X are the most concerned about saving, with 51% worried that they will never be able to save for a rainy day. On the other hand, Baby Boomers are the least worried about saving, with only 29% expressing concern. This suggests that Baby Boomers may have built up enough savings and investments to feel financially secure and additionally they were the least likely generation to make an impulsive purchase (28%).
The research revealed that only 15% of Brits consistently adhere to a weekly or monthly budget with 28% of individuals admitting to not having any budget at all. Surprisingly, Baby Boomers are the reported generation most likely to disregard budgeting, with 36% admitting to not having any sort of budget in place. Gen Z follows closely behind with the number of individuals without a budget coming in at 26%. These statistics demonstrate that budgeting is not a practice commonly implemented by most of the population and particularly amongst the older generation, contrary to common belief.
Credit cards are a popular financial tool among many Brits; however, 25% claim to not own any. Baby Boomers are the most likely generation to own a credit card, with only 18% reporting that they do not have one.
On the other hand, Gen Z is the least likely to own a credit card, with 55% reporting that they do not have any. These findings suggest that while credit cards may still be a prevalent financial tool, ownership varies significantly by generation.
It's clear from the research conducted that each generation has its own unique attitudes towards finances and financial behaviour, with some interesting overlaps occurring between the age groups.
By understanding these differences, we can we be more aware of our current attitudes to finance.
Hear from the Expert
Our Market Analyst Roberto Rivero says:
“The main conclusions from this research are fairly predictable. Older generations have been part of the workforce for a longer period of time and are more likely to own unencumbered property, so it is logical that they would be more content with their level of savings and income.
On the other hand, it is understandable that younger generations, who have not been part of the workforce for as long and who face higher costs to get on the housing ladder, would be more concerned about savings, income and the future in general.
The main thing we can take away from this is that it is perfectly normal to worry about finances and the future, particularly in the challenging economic period we are currently experiencing. So, what can you do about it? The first thing would be not to panic.
Saving and investing are both important for everyone, regardless of what generational bucket you fall into. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are too young or too old to get started.
It is important that those who have not done so make an effort to create an emergency fund of savings, designed to sustain themselves in case of an unexpected event. Once an emergency fund has been created, the next priority might be investing with the goal of achieving financial security for retirement. The earlier you start, the easier this will be in the long run, but that doesn’t mean you should despair if you haven’t started yet.
Before you do either of these things, it can be extremely helpful to conduct a thorough appraisal of your incomings and outgoings. If possible, try to cut down on unnecessary expenditure and allocate some of these funds to saving or investing instead. If you are really struggling or worried about finances, it is always recommendable to speak to an independent financial advisor or the Citizens Advice Bureau.”
We gathered data from YouGov profiles to analyse the opinions of over 360,000 UK citizens, to show how the behaviours, attitudes and literacy within finance varies based on your generation (Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers).
The survey answers were collected on 21st Jan 2018 (attitudes to finance) and 22nd Jan 2023 (consumer behaviour and attitudes to finance) based on a nationally representative audience.
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This material does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice, investment recommendations, an offer of or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments. Please note that such trading analysis is not a reliable indicator for any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decisions, you should seek advice from independent financial advisors to ensure you understand the risks.