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Millennial money statistics

Here’s how the “next great generation” handles their finances.

Like other industries, millennials seem to be breaking the rules about money and spending. To help identify spending patterns and financial strategies, has put American millennials under a microscope next to a stack of a cash to see how they deal with money matters.

We’re sharing exclusive data from thousands of respondents that our research provider, Pureprofile, helped us gather over the last year. The data sheds light on how this generation handles their finances, from college debt to retirement savings.

Money lies
Date of survey: June 2018

Money lies

When it comes to millennials’ money, you might be surprised how far these 20- and 30-somethings are willing to stretch the truth in order to keep their dollars stacked.

😱 Over half of millennials — 58% to be exact — admit that when they snatch up lost cash, they have no intention of trying to get it back to its owner. And only 44% of those money grabbers have a moral dilemma — but they still won’t try to get the cash back in the right hands.

👥 40% of millennials admit that when they make a purchase without their partner’s knowledge, they’ve got no plans of telling their significant other about it.

👀 Screw cable and paid streaming subscriptions is the millennial mindset, as 44% won’t feel slightly guilty about downloading content illegally on the Internet.

🌀 And here’s the laundry list of millennial money lies:

  • 55% say mum’s the word when mistakenly undercharged or given more change.
  • 50% download content illegally to avoid paying.
  • 35% of cheapskates knowingly won’t shell out their fair share of the bill.
  • 33% misrepresent their age for financial gain, such as a discount.
  • 32% purchase an item with the intention of using it once and returning it immediately.
  • 22% withhold financial information on taxes.

Digital Wallets
Date of survey: June 2018

Digital wallets

“I’ll put it on my card and you can just Venmo me.” Beautiful words that have simplified the process of going out with a large group and trying to split the bill. The digital wallet is gaining popularity and no group has embraced its ease quite like millennials. However, my dad still won’t use one. According to him, someone is going to “get his credit card digits.”

📱 64% of millennials have utilized a digital wallet at least once. And on average, they use it about 92 times a year.

💰 30% claim that they have spent more money when using a digital wallet.

👩‍💻 When transferring money, 37% use their digital wallet over other options.

Christmas Confessions
Date of survey: October 2017

Christmas confessions

It’s the merriest time of the year and Santa is laughing all the way to the bank. But the gifts aren’t always a perfect match.

Admit it, the Christmas money wasted on ill-fitting clothes from your parents would have been received with a wider smile in the form of cash. What does America really think about the gifts they receive?

😱 61.9% of millennials say they receive gifts that they don’t even want.

🦌 On average, three presents from the Christmas haul are undesirable.

👀 The worth of those unwanted presents totals an average of $58.43.

🍾 36.6% of millennials keep their presents, 18.8% ask Santa for gift receipts to exchange them, and a small pool of millennials (14.1%) are likely to put their gifts on the market to make some cash.

🌀 Some dastardly millennials (9.6%) plan on buying a gift that they know won’t be appreciated.

Holiday Spending
Date of survey: September 2017

Holiday spending

Holidays are a great time to spread around some cheer and positivity — and some of that hard-earned money for gifts. The gift-giving economy is gigantic — like $181 billion dollars big!

🖊 1 in 10 (that’s 13.7%) of millennials plan on hitting up their friends or family for cash to purchase presents.

💳 18.6% are relying solely on their credit cards for gifts — swipe now, pay later.

💰 And for the 36.2% of millennials who will be digging into their savings to buy presents, be generous, but don’t dig too deep!

🤑 During the holidays, millennials will empty $576.39 out of their pockets on average for gifts.

Image description
Date of survey: October 2017

Black Friday

Should I spend some quality time catching up with grandma to learn about our family history, or ditch Thanksgiving early to wait in line for an 80% off flat-screen TV? She can always fill me in at Christmas. Predictably, the younger you are, the more likely you’re going to splurge this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

🆘 36% of millennials make purchases immediately rather than waiting for sales.

🍗 This year, 62% of millennials plan to spend money during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

😮 On average, millennials plan to spend $557 this Black Friday.

Impulse Shopping
Date of survey: July 2017

Impulse shopping

When I see something I want, I need it yesterday — or by the next day at least (thanks, Amazon Prime!). In a world of instant gratification, it’s trite to say millennials lack patience when it comes to impulse shopping, or anything for that matter. Don’t hate the shopper, hate the game.

👌 96% make impulsive purchases either online or in store.

📆 When shopping online, 69% make impulsive purchases at least once every month.

🏪 81% make impulsive purchases in person at least once every month.

🖱 The average amount spent per impulse purchase online: $71.

👉 The average amount spent on each impulse purchase in person: $82.

🤔 46% feel content and 48% feel regret after they give into the itch to make a quick purchase.

😫 55% gave “I was worried I would miss out (on a deal, run out of stock, would forget)” as the reason for their last impulsive purchase. FOMO strikes again.

Money Transfer
Date of survey: July 2017 & November 2016

Money transfer

Millennials send money back and forth all the time. But when they transfer money overseas, how do they choose what service to use and why are they sending money in the first place? From currency conversion to confusing fees, millennials feel like they’re getting taken advantage of, but likely haven’t done the proper research to simplify the process.

😬 62% used a money transfer service that was easiest for themselves.

📉 54% of millennials will either use their bank or the same provider consistently without comparing providers.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Helping to support family was the reason that 59% of millennials gave for transferring money.

💸 When transferring money overseas, 81% of millennials feel like they’re being ripped off, with 80% of baby boomers and 79% of Gen X feeling their pain.

Personal Loans
Date of survey: July 2017

Personal loans

A financial push from a personal loan is a smart way to find some breathing room and get your expenses in order, if you can afford to pay it back. And believe it or not, millennials use personal loans rather practically. Although, we have to imagine that someone is out there using a personal loan to fund a trip to next year’s Coachella.

🚗 In the past year, 29% of surveyed millennials took out personal loans for vehicles, 26% for bills and 24% for tuition fees.

👩‍🎓 The average amount used for vehicles was $11,058, $1,079 for bills and $9,560 for tuition fees.

👼 39% took out a personal loan in the past year — that nearly doubles baby boomers who sit at 21%

Debt Regret
Date of survey: July 2017

Debt regret

You know those moments when you get carried away and let your future self worry about your careless spending — those are money mistakes. No one likes looking back on their past financial decisions and filing them in a rolodex under, “Whoops.” You’re not alone: America’s debt regret is more common than you think. Luckily, you can discover a wealth of finance tips and tricks on to help steer clear of that four letter word.

😢 48% regret beelining into debt through poor shopping habits.

🎯 Wishing they knew then what they know now, 35% of millennials said they would’ve saved up and paid their balances before falling into debt.

💎 71% reported that indulging too much in the finer things of life is their money mistake.

College Debt
Date of survey: July 2017

College debt

The cap and gown typically comes with college debt, and hopefully some job offers to help you start chipping away at what you’ve borrowed. Ironically, not everybody sees their degree as a valuable cornerstone in their career.

👨‍🎓 65% of millennials earned a college degree, but only 60% think the degree was worth the price tag.

💃 For the graduated students who see no value in their degree, 45% said it’s because, “I’m not using my degree.”

Side Hustles
Date of survey: July 2017

Side hustles

Trying to make an extra buck? Who isn’t. The side hustle economy is flourishing with millennials selling their skills and services to supplement their lifestyle.

🤷‍♀️ In the past year, 33% of millennials made money on the side without declaring it.

🤫 Of these people skimming the government, 36% said that their side-gig was babysitting.

Game of Thrones Piracy
Date of survey: July 2017

Game of Thrones piracy

You could pay for HBO like an upstanding citizen, or you could find an illegal stream somewhere in the corner of the deep dark web. I doubt Jon Snow would approve of your treachery.

🛡 68% of Millennials watch GoT, and of these viewers, 6% of them will watch it illegally.

⚔ Unsurprisingly, millennials follow this series more closely than any other generation.

Borrowing from Friends & Family
Date of survey: January 2017

Borrowing from friends & family

When bills pile up and your back account is dwindling to double digits, you may start looking to your friends and family to help bail you out of a sticky situation. I know a Venmo request sounds easy, but talk to your friends and family about borrowing money first, and only do so if you know you can pay it back.

👲 60% of Gen Y said that they’re guilty of borrowing money from friends and family.

👫 59% of millennial males and 57% of females looked to friends and family for financial help.

😑 Out of the millennials who have borrowed from those closest to them, 13% of females and 10% of males said they had still not paid back the money.

🤦‍♀️ Guess who hasn’t paid back their debts and has zero plans on doing so? 3% of females and 1% of males. C’mon guys and gals.

Date of survey: January 2017


Get me a rocking chair, some ice cold lemonade (vodka optional) and I’ll be a happy retiree knowing that every day is Saturday. But, as this generation keep pushing back age standards for getting married and starting families, it’ll be interesting to see when retirement sets in for millennials.

🐵 70% said they wished they started planning for retirement sooner.

🙈 26% think they’ll retire between ages 61 and 65, and 21% think they’ll retire between 66 and 70.

🙉 17% of millennials believe that retirement just isn’t in the cards for them.

🐒 15% think they’ll retire between ages 50 and 60, and 11% think they’ll retire between 71 and 75.

🙊 7% think they’ll retire under 50. On the other end of the spectrum, there are 2% that think they’ll retire between 76 and 80 and 1% over 80.

Cost of Winter
Date of survey: January 2017

Cost of winter

Hello, runny nose and dry skin. Winter has some harsh elements, and with that comes some days of not feeling so hot. If you account for sick days out of the office and multiple pharmacy trips to stock up on medicine plus increased utility bills, the winter can hurt your wallet.

💊 The average amount millennials spend to battle the cold and flu over winter is $48.

❄ Thanks to winter related ailments, 38% of millennials stayed home from work at least once.

😏 But, 46% kept their winter medicine budget at $20 or under – making them the generation that shells out the least for cold and flu supplies.

Valentine's Day
Date of survey: January 2017

Valentine’s Day

Millennials haven’t been perceived as the most romantic bunch and Tinder surely isn’t helping the cause. However, that doesn’t mean that cupid’s arrow is ageist. Millennials are still buying heart shaped boxes of chocolates and plush stuffed animals to try to woo that special someone on Valentine’s Day.

😍 In order to save some extra pocket cash, 46% of millennials will celebrate after February 14.

👯 It’s not always romantic, 43% of millennials give gifts to friends to show platonic affection.

💐 23% are sneaking around buying gifts for a secret lover.

👤 Some millennials just aren’t feeling Valentines Day — 12% to be precise.

Missed Payments
Date of survey: November 2016

Missed payments

Not an ideal situation, but sometimes you simply don’t have the money to pay one of your bills. With an overly saturated job market and student debt on the rise, millennials are having a tough time saving the money they need to responsibly take care of their finances to not miss bill payments.

👎 54% of millennials tell us that their saving habits are irregular.

🤦‍♂️ When it comes to different types of loans, 40% admit that they’ve missed at least one of their payments.

💳 Credit card payments have only been missed by 32% on millennials.

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For all media inquiries, please contact:

Richard Laycock, Insights editor and senior content marketing manager


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Kyle Morgan is SEO manager at Forbes Advisor and a former editor and content strategist at Finder. He has written for the USA Today network and Relix magazine, among other publications. He holds a BA in journalism and media from Rutgers University. See full bio

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