Gen X and Gen Y: The Unpredictable Spenders

Money, Tips & how-to

Via LearnVest By Anna Williams ~

There’s certainly been a lot of buzz lately about how the generations differ—from work personality and career moves to charitable giving.

Now, a trio of recent reports also tries to provide some insight into how the groups diverge when it comes to managing—and investing—their wealth.

Three major financial institutions—Fidelity, U.S. Trust and Pershing—recently released studies on how investors in Gen X and Gen Y, or those in their 20s-40s, compare to baby boomers.

In particular, the reports found that members of the younger generations are surprisingly actively engaged in money management.

How the Younger Generations Differ

According to Fidelity’s Millionaire Outlook report, 72% of the Gen X/Y group (with an average age of 37 in the study) said they find joy in investing—that’s versus only 37% of baby boomers surveyed. And the younger generation not only seems to enjoy investing more, they also are generally more optimistic about the market’s future outlook as a whole.

But compared to baby boomers, Gen X/Y-ers are more likely to spend their money freely. Among millionaire members of Gen X/Y, 91% acknowledged they feel wealthy—compared to just 74% of the older generation. And the younger group also was considerably more likely to own vacation homes and boats, as well as to choose to fly first class.

Also, members of Gen X/Y seem to have no problem asking for help. In the Fidelity report, investors in Gen X/Y were found to be more likely to turn to financial advisers for investment ideas than any other source, like friends or family. And while only 68% of Boomers work with an advisor, almost all (92%) of Gen X/Y millionaires choose to do so.

As The New York Times reports, these studies found that younger investors also have a special interest in using their investments to simultaneously pursue philanthropic interests.

And despite their high spending on luxury items, Gen X/Y investors are at least planning ahead: More Gen X/Y investors were interested in getting a plan in place and tracking their progress to make sure they achieve their financial goals.

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.

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