Consumers in the mostly healthy, highly approachable 30-to-35 age group are different, of course, from consumers in the 36-to-51 age group.
But analysts in the agency department at New York Life Insurance Company found when they commissioned a recent generational survey that expectation gaps are a lot bigger for some financial outlook indicators than others.
A survey firm polled 1,863 U.S. adults ages 30 and older online, in English.
The analysts classified participants ages 30 to 35 as Maturing Millennials, and participants ages 36 to 51 as members of Generation X.
Here’s a look at how expectations differed for the two groups of participants, and what the variations in the size of the gaps might mean.
1. Opportunities for career advancement
The survey team measured participants’ income prospects by asking whether they “anticipate more opportunities for career growth and advancement” in 2017.
Maturing Millennials who expect that: 70 percent.
Gen Xers who expect that: 46 percent.
Expectations gap ratio: 1.52.
2. Fun spending
The survey team gauged participants’ tendency to act more like grasshoppers than ants by asking whether they planned to spend more on fun activities, such as vacations and moves, in 2017.
Maturing Millennials who expect that: 64 percent.
Gen Xers who expect that: 40 percent.
Expectations gap ratio: 1.60.
3. Preparation for the unexpected
The survey team got at how well the participants might be thinking about risk management by asking whether they think their families will be “more financially secure and better prepared for the unexpected” in 2017.
Maturing Millennials who expect that: 71 percent.
Gen Xers who expect that: 52 percent.
Expectations gap ratio: 1.37.
4. Saving plans
The survey team got at how well the participants are actually putting their money where their hopes are by asking them whether they plan to save more in 2017.
Maturing Millennials who expect that: 83 percent.
Gen Xers who expect that: 68 percent.
Expectations gap ratio: 1.22.
5. Plans to reduce debt
The survey team probed the participants’ level of financial realism by asking them whether they at least plan to pay down debt in 2017.
Maturing Millennials who expect that: 76 percent.
Gen Xers who expect that: 70 percent.
Expectations gap ratio: 1.09.
Of course, the Maturing Millennials are starting families, buying houses and still wrestling with student loan debt. But the narrowness of the gap between the debt-reduction expectation gaps and the “fun spending” gap, especially, may be a sign that many Maturing Millennials need to hear more stories about what the Great Recession was really like.
We’re on Facebook, are you?