Views differ across generations of what ‘making it’ financially means to them
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How Americans view their prospects of financial success varies widely whether you’re asking millennials or baby boomers,Generation X or Generation Z. And the pattern isn’t especially predictable.
According to TD Bank’s survey of four generations, baby boomers consider being debt-free to be the biggest sign of “making it,” The importance of that goal then wanes a bit over the next two generations, only to kick back up for the youngest cohort, Generation Z, who are currently in their late teens and early 20s.
Meanwhile, 20- and 30-something millennials are the most competitive generation, with almost half (45 percent) indicating it’s important to feel they’ve “made it” before their friends. Responses from Generation Z and the older Generation X were roughly even here, at around 30 percent, while a scant 1 in 10 boomers reported such competitiveness carrying any weight.
Millennials also led the pack in how confident they are about having the financial skills needed to “make it,” with 78 percent expressing faith in their abilities. But confidence levels were irregular across the four generations. Members of Generation X \u2014 those in their late 30s and 40s \u2014 profess less confidence than both the younger millennials and the older boomers.
Perhaps least surprising is that Generation Z and millennials reported the strongest impact of debt on their ability to “make it.” They’re also the generations carrying the large student loan balances. In contrast, a minority of baby boomers and fledgling Generation Z respondents indicated debt has been an obstacle.
TD Bank’s study was conducted March 18-24, 2016, among a nationally representative group of 1,109 Americans ages 17 and up. Conducted by the MARU Group, an independent global research company, the survey results were released April 5.
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