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, finder.com 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.

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 flatscreen 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.

Tweet: The younger you are, the more likely you’re going to splurge this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Millennials plan to spend $557 this Black Friday. Check out more stats on millenials and money: https://ctt.ec/UdK3F+


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.

Tweet: In a world of instant gratification, it’s trite to say millennials lack patience when it comes to impulse shopping. 81% make impulsive purchases in person at least once every month. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/2TMde+


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.

Tweet: Millennials send money back and forth all the time, most often to help out family. But 81% feel ripped off by overseas transfer fees and exchange rates. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/fF2Xa+


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%

Tweet: Believe it or not, millennials use personal loans rather practically.  29% of surveyed millennials took out personal loans for vehicles, 26% for bills and 24% for tuition fees. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/0sI74+


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, debt regret is more common than you think. Luckily, you can discover a wealth of finance tips and tricks on finder.com 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.

Tweet: Debt regret is more common than you think. 48% of millennials regret going into debt through poor shopping habits. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/wd5Jk+


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 that’s because, “I’m not using my degree.”

Tweet: Was your education worth the hefty price tag? 65% of millennials earned a college degree, but only 60% think the degree was worth the price tag. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/Da3ha+


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.

🤷‍♀️ Just this 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.

Tweet: 33% of millennials made money on the side without declaring it. Bet you can't guess what the top side hustle is. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/_2b4k+


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.

Tweet: 68% of Millennials watch Game of Thrones, and of these viewers, 6% of them will watch it illegally. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/lC70H+


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.

Tweet: What to do when your bills pile up? 60% of millennials said that they’re guilty of borrowing money from friends and family. As many as 13% haven't paid it back yet. Oops!  Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/ceJ20+


Retirement
Date of survey: January 2017

Retirement

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.

Tweet: As millennials push back age standards for getting married and starting families, when will retirement set in? 17% think they'll never retire. What do the rest think? Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/AV4Ft+


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, the winter can put a dent in your pocket.

💊 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.

Tweet: Welcome winter and the flu season it brings. For millennials, winter's no big deal. 46% kept their winter medicine budget at $20 or under – less than any other generation. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/eK_8X+


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.

Tweet: Millennials haven’t been perceived as the most romantic bunch, but most still celebrate the holiday, just not in traditional ways. 46% of millennials celebrate after February 14. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/WKRbA+


Missed Payments
Date of survey: November 2016

Missed payments

Not an ideal situation, but sometimes you just 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.

Tweet: With an overly saturated job market and student debt on the rise, millennials are having a tough time saving the money they need. 40% admit to missing a loan payment. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/UaNb7+


Digital Wallets
Date of survey: November 2016

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.”

📱 In the past year, 64% of millennials have utilized a digital wallet.

💰 53% claim that they have spent more money when using a digital wallet.

👩‍💻 When transferring money, 63% use their digital wallet over other options.

Tweet: The digital wallet is gaining popularity, and no group has embraced its ease quite like millennials. 64% of millennials have used a digital wallet. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/33fmO+


Christmas Confessions
Date of survey: November 2016

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?

😱 67% of millennials are disappointed with at least one gift on Christmas.

🐧 While we’re on the topic of bad gifts: 40% keep them, 26% exchange them, 17% regift them, 12% sell them, 2% throw them away and 1% have the audacity to give the gift back.

👀 For 46% of Millennials, unwanted gifts fall into the clothing and accessories category, followed by cosmetics and fragrances at 12% and household items at 11%.

🦌 26% of millennials say mom or dad are the worst gift givers, followed by mother-in-laws and father-in-laws (19%) and friends (17%).

🎩 19% have purchased someone an unwanted gift on purpose.

⁉ What do millennials enjoy most about Christmas? Family (53%), the festive atmosphere (15%) and time off work (12%).

🌀 13% try to avoid buying gifts for their boss, 10% don’t want to get a gift for mom and 9% would like to leave nothing under the tree for a mother-in-law.

🍾 57% of millennials say their partner’s present-buying ability is excellent, while 32% say they sometimes get it wrong, and 11% say they are hopeless and haven’t got a clue.

Tweet: What does America really think about the gifts they receive? 67% of millennials are disappointed with a holiday gift, and 19% have purchased someone an unwanted gift on purpose. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/wkMad+


Holiday Spending
Date of survey: November 2016

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!

🤑 During holidays, millennials empty $667 out of their pockets on average for gifts.

🖊 24% of holiday gift purchases by Gen Y last year were dependent on receiving a personal loan or money borrowed from family.

Tweet: The gift giving economy is gigantic, like $181 billion dollars big! During the holidays, millennials empty $667 out of their pockets on average for gifts. Check out more stats on millennials and money: https://ctt.ec/bp26L+


For media inquiries:

Jennifer McDermott

Consumer advocate helping people improve their personal finances.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy.