Boomers, millennials and money

The baby boomer generation — born between 1946 and 1964 — is rapidly being replaced by the millennial generation — born between 1980 and 2000 — as the most numerous generation in the country. NC State University economist Mike Walden discusses how the two generations’ views about money differ.

“This is very interesting. I read a new survey where the surveyors looked at, or talked to, 500 baby boomers, they talked to 500 millennials and they asked them a series of questions about money. And there are some very interesting similarities as well as differences.

“Both groups gave similar answers about seeking a financially responsible mate. In fact, about 90 percent of both generations said it was important that their mate is financially responsible. They also agreed that each of the pair should keep the other one informed about spending.

“But the millennials were much more pessimistic about their income prospects than the boomers. And I think that’s the impact of the Great Recession, which really hurt millennials, especially those looking for their first job.

“Boomers also fight with their mate — or disagree with their mate, I guess I should say, much less — 37 percent of them say they disagree with their mate about money. The boomers do that much less than the millennials, where it’s close to 50 percent of the millennials disagree with their mate or partner about money.

“And then lastly, by a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent, boomers say that having a high debt is a major issue. So fewer millennials worry about debt, and again, this may because they got conditioned to debt — taking on debt to go to college et cetera — so it just seems more like a natural thing.”