INSIDER and Morning Consult recently teamed up to survey 4,400 Americans, and found evidence of all of the above. Of the respondents, 1,207 of them identified as millennials - defined by the survey as people ages 22 to 37 - and 1,472 identified as baby boomers - defined by the survey as people ages 54 to 77 (237 respondents did not select a generation).
As the results show, while the Great Recession affected all generations, it delayed millennials' ability to start building wealth. But they're trying hard to catch up, and they're overall more positive than baby boomers about where they are financially compared to where they expected to be 10 years ago.
Below, we've highlighted some of the most enlightening results from the survey that shed a bit of light on the financial behaviors of both generations. All findings from the survey are based on survey respondents who answered the question.
Homeownership looks different for millennials — nearly one-third own a home, compared to nearly three-fourths of baby boomers. Nearly half of millennials are renting, compared to less than a quarter of boomers.
Millennials pay more a month for housing — more millennials than boomers spend over $1,000 monthly. More than half of boomers spend less than $1,000, compared to a little less than half of millennials.
Slightly more than three-fourths of millennials own a car, whereas 88% of boomers do.
Only 36% of millennials have never had student loans, compared to 61% of boomers. Nearly 45% of millennials currently have student loans, whereas a quarter of boomers do.
While fewer boomers have student loan debt, they tend to owe more than indebted millennials. More boomers than millennials owe over $50,000; more millennials than boomers owe less than $50,000.
Nearly half of indebted millennials don't think college was worth the student loan debt, compared to a little over a quarter of boomers — 66% of the latter think college was worth it, compared to 53% of millennials.
Millennials aren't as prepared for retirement as boomers — more than half don't have a retirement account, but more than half of boomers do.
However, nearly 46% of boomers aren't currently putting aside money each month for retirement, whereas only 35% of millennials aren't. Millennials who are putting money aside regularly also save more money a month for retirement than boomers do.
But more millennials than boomers expect to never retire at all — around 9%, compared to 4% of boomers. And 18% of millennials don't know when they'll retire, compared to 13% of boomers.
The majority of millennials and boomers have savings accounts, but more than half of millennials have less than $5,000 saved. Nearly 30% of boomers have more than $15,000 saved, whereas around 16% of millennials do.
Most millennials and boomers spend $100 to $500 a month on groceries, but more boomers spend in that price range.
Millennials also spend more on dining out and entertainment. Fewer millennials than boomers spend less than $50 dining out a month; more millennials than boomers spend over $50.
Only 26% of millennials pay more than $100 for healthcare a month, whereas nearly 42% of boomers do. More millennials than boomers have declined medical or dental treatment because it was too costly.
Only a little more than a quarter of millennials have a credit score of 700 or higher, compared to nearly half of boomers.
Roughly 28% of millennials think they're middle class, compared to 38% of boomers. More millennials than boomers think they're "poor" or "working class," while more boomers than millennials think they're "upper middle class."
If given an extra $1,000, both millennials and boomers would prioritize using it to either pay outstanding bills, pay down debt, or save.
Despite economic setbacks, millennials seem slightly more positive about their finances. About 37% think they're better off than they thought they'd be 10 years ago, compared to 31% of boomers. Nearly 30% of boomers think they're worse off, compared to 28% of millennials.