How different generations approach money matters

Money management habits are not only influenced by different types of personalities, but also differ from generation to generation. Each of the generations that are currently and actively contributing financially to society, have their own approach and attitude to money, savings and investment. These approaches and attitudes have been influenced by their collective experiences during their upbringing.

Let’s looks at four generations and the shared events that have taken place in their lives, which ultimately influenced their management of money.

Baby Boomers

Born between 1946-1964, Baby Boomers grew up in the post-world war II era. Currently they are at an age where they are getting ready to, or have already retired.  This generation was brought up by parents who experienced the rationing and penny-pinching needed to survive the challenges shaped by war.

Baby Boomers have generally saved well throughout their lives making traditional investments and insurances, and as a result many have accumulated a fair amount of wealth throughout their lives. Generally, they have been happy to spend their money on decent cars, an annual holiday and a comfortable home.

This generation has been coined as being the wealthiest generation having benefitted from high salaries, free education, soaring property and investment values, inheritances and final salary pensions.  In 1969 research shows, the average first home cost approximately £4,000 and typical buyers were 25 years old. We know this is certainly not the case in 2021.

A fair amount of Boomers are still employed – and due to their years of experience many remain in senior positions. Some remain employed to maintain their lifestyle, some because of the intellectual stimulation the workplace brings,  whilst some may be motivated to take on a mentorship role.

On the other side of the coin, women born in this era did not have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Consequently many female Boomers now face an uncertain future going into retirement, not having had the benefits of superannuation and fulltime senior positions over their working lifetime. Similarly, those men and women who do not hold senior positions in the latter part of their employment period, are at times being faced with discrimination in the workplace, based on their age and lack of experience when it comes to technology.

Generation X

Sometimes known as the forgotten generation, Generation X is made up of the people born between 1965-1980. They are the inventors and innovators of the technology we rely on today, like smartphones and Facebook.

They are also the generation that despite graduating from university, entered into an economy that just kept failing. So unlike their parents, these individuals faced an uncertain future in the disappointing reality of a severe shortage of career opportunities and therefore a lack of financial stability. Walking straight into a job and buying a first home was not available to them, in the way it was to their parents.

If you were born in this era your best path to achieving fame and fortune, was to become an entrepreneur, and a good one at that! You needed to think out the box, like Elon Musk, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg.

The stock markets were not kind to this generation either, as they experienced plenty of ups and downs, resulting in a generation tending towards emotional buying and selling.  This has contributed to creating a culture of distrust. . Getting Generation X  to buy into an investment opportunities is not easy unless they have evidence of it being a success for others.


This generation, albeit not always viewed in a positive light thanks to the large generation gap between them and their bosses – mostly Baby Boomers – were born between 1981-1995 to parents who brought them up in a rather protective, spoon fed and coddled fashion.

This generation has been given a lot of bad press over the years thanks to their “I am special and deserve a medal for it” attitude, as well as their extravagant spending habits. However, they actually have a lot going for them and can also be commended for their ‘quality over quantity’ philosophy.

Millennials are money-smart, make the most of technology and have a healthy dose of self-confidence when it comes to their ability to grow and improve. Millennials are reportedly excellent at saving, and contribute greatly to the micro-investing industry.

Although these individuals are less likely to buy homes, fancy cars and expensive clothes, they are also less likely to buy things on credit, and are far better at saving compared to previous generations. They are also not put off by long term investments, due to the fact that they were brought up in an economy that experienced many periods with low-interest rates.

Millennials like to invest in locally sources products and brands, in an attempt to not buy into mass production and what society often dictates. One could even argue that they have coped the best during the global lockdown, as they were already fans of online shopping, home delivery and working remotely.

Generation Z

Generation Z as currently the youngest generation in our society, having been born between 1995-2012 are all fairly new to the workplace and these individuals do not know a world without social media.

As they have only been around for 25 years, not a lot of data has been collected on their money management styles compared to other generations, but so far, statistics have shown two interesting traits. Firstly, Generation Z’s are more concerned about the price of things than the quality of a product and the name of a brand. Secondly, they are very active online shoppers and make brilliant use of online searching tools to find the best deals and prices.

Their approach and attitude towards investing remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely that the majority will purchase property as a form of long term investment.

Understanding how different generations were brought up and the influences of their upbringing, sheds some light of why the approach to buying, saving, spending and investing is so different for each generation. It is equally as clear that technology continues to grow rapidly in the role that it plays in money management.

In this day and age, it is imperative that you seek financial advice from a company like Advisa, that takes this all into consideration but ultimately assesses your needs as an individual first and foremost.