Generations differ on spending extra money

Dining and entertainment for millennials, saving for boomers

Every generation of Americans agrees that after taking care of necessities, we like to take our extra dollars and dine out.

But according to a survey released June 9, 2016, by market research firm Mintel, the generations differ widely on other choices of where to spend discretionary income.

Both baby boomers and Generation X respondents said that paying off debt was their second highest priority, whereas millennial preferences continued in the vein of spending their surpluses on experiences, by spending on entertainment such as music and movies. Millennials are more likely than both of the older generations to spend leftover funds on dining, entertainment, gifts for family members and vacations.

Generation X was the most likely cohort to pay off debt, and baby boomers most likely to put the extra into savings. The differences among generations were especially pronounced in entertainment spending, as 38 percent of millennials said they would allocate extra money to music, movies, and concerts, compared to just 12 percent for boomers. Meanwhile, almost three times as many baby boomers (20 percent) as millennials (7 percent) said they would put surplus funds into savings.

Mintel conducted its American Lifestyles survey online in April among 2,000 adults age 18 and older, using quotas established to proportionally match the demographics of the U.S. adult internet population.

See related: More infographics, How generations view "making it" financially

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Updated: 01-21-2019