15 Important Ways Baby Boomers Differ from Millennials

Although a number of disparities exist between baby boomers and millennials, they have one thing in common. They are both praised and dogged for a long list of attitudes and behaviors.

Millennials are known as being freer thinkers who bend traditional norms. At the same time, boomers are considered to be the more ambitious and grabbed for the brass ring. While both groups have similar goals like having a rewarding career and forging strong relationships, millennials and baby boomers take their own unique paths. Here’s what makes the groups different. Hint: A millennial stat on page 13 is pretty surprising.

1. Homeownership is more prevalent with this generation

Senior black couple standing outside their house

Baby boomers tend to stay put. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Millennials want to buy a house, but they simply can’t afford one. One reason is that baby boomers are not selling their homes, which is adding to a shortage in affordable housing, according to a study by Realtor.com. About 33 million fewer homes are on the market because approximately 85% of baby boomers don’t plan to sell anytime soon.

Next: This is where baby boomers want to retire.

2. Home is where the heart is for boomers

elder person smiling

Most baby boomers don’t want to move once they retire. | Robert Daly/Getty Images

Baby boomers are happy to retire right where they are, whereas millennials prefer to move to their “dream location.” Approximately 37% of baby boomers said they don’t plan to relocate in retirement, according to a survey by American Advisors Group. Both groups found some similarity. About 20% of millennials and 21% of baby boomers want to retire near family.

Next: Many people in this age group are saying ‘I don’t’ right now.

3. Millennials aren’t rushing to the alter

The average age to get married is creeping upward. | Andreua/iStock/Getty Images

Baby boomers have one of the highest divorce rates and second marriages in history, which may be one clue as to why millennials are putting off marriage. People used to marry in their early 20s in the 1960s but today people tend to marry closer to age 30, according to Bentley University. Millennials are delaying or choosing not to marry because many simply see the concept as being outdated.

Next: Today’s engagement ring isn’t what it was in the past.

4. Diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend

Wedding proposal

Millennials are spending less on wedding rings. | Nadore/iStock/Getty Images

Baby boomer engagements included a sparkling diamond ring that cost about three months of the proposer’s salary. However, millennials are only spending about one month’s salary on a ring that fits their budget, according to a 2017 survey by The Cashlorette.

“Older millennials could still be saddled with student loan debt, and many are trying to save for a down payment on a house,” Sarah Berger of The Cashlorette told CNBC.

Next: Maybe this is why they aren’t spending money on diamonds.

5. This group is more independent

Generations of families are living under one roof again. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Baby boomers were more likely to move out of their parent’s homes in young adulthood than millennials, according to U.S. News and World Report. About 22% have multi-generations of adults living in the same home, which is a spike since World War I.

Next: It’s hard to become a parent when you still live with your parents.

6. This generation became parents at an earlier age

Family watching television

Millennials are waiting to have children. | vadim guzhva/Getty Images

Women in the 1970’s had babies in their early to mid 20s whereas today women are waiting until they are age 28 on average, according to Marketwatch. Women who pursue higher education also put off motherhood too.

“The more each hour of a woman’s time is worth, the more reason there is not to have a child right now,” said Philip Cohen, a University of Maryland sociologist told Marketwatch.

Next: When they do become parents, this group saves more than anyone else.

7. Parents in this generation are ‘supersavers’

Young family couple trying to get loan

MIllennials are better at saving for their retirement. | iStock.com/megaflopp

Millennial parents are better at saving for retirement than their older counterparts, according to a Nerdwallet study. Approximately 38% of millennial parents dedicate over 15% of their income toward retirement as compared to 23% of baby boomer parents.

Next: This group made their money working 9 to 5.

8. A regular work schedule is the norm for this group

Businessman Using Computer In Home Office

Millennials are more comfortable with working from home. | IPGGutenbergUKLtd/ Getty Images

Baby boomers are more accustomed to working a traditional workday, whereas millennials prefer to work a more flexible schedule. Approximately 81% of millennials want to make their own work hours, whereas only 69% of baby boomers prefer that concept, Time reports.

Next: Work is everything for this group.

9. Live to work is this generation’s motto

Mature man doing finances in home office

Boomers have a harder time letting go of work. | Siri Stafford/iStock/Getty Images

Baby boomers live for their work, whereas millennials find work as a means to an end, according to West Midland Family Center. Baby boomers found it harder to strike a work-family balance earlier in their job. However, in the twilight of their career, they seek a more flexible work life. Millennials, on the other hand, seek that balance immediately.

Next: They are less likely to job hop.

10. Boomers are more likely to stay at their job

Lawyer on the phone

Boomers tend to stay at their jobs much longer. | Chris Ryan/iStock/Getty Images

The concept of staying at your job, even if you hate it, is fading with millennials. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research study found that at least 40% of baby boomers remained at their job for more than 20 years, Fortune reports. The trend of remaining at the same job for years may be dying with millennials.

“Millennials think this way instinctively,” Joe Coughlin, the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab told Fortune. “They’ve seen their parents laid off by these large corporations, so there is less trust.”

Next: Even though they job hop, they are more responsible with money.

11. Millennials take money far more seriously than other groups

Millennials take money seriously. | iStock

Perhaps it’s due to having less of it, but millennials take money management more seriously than baby boomers, according to CNBC. About 34% of millennials versus 18% of baby boomers are likely to have a written financial plan, based on a Charles Schwab survey.

Millennials were also more financially engaged than older generations, which includes rebalancing their financial portfolio and understanding brokerage account fees.

Next: However, this group still likes to drop some cash.

12. This group spends on entertainment

Couple drinking coffee

Millennials aren’t afraid to spend money when they go out. | iStock.com/ArthurHidden

Millennials may be serious about money management but they still spend more money on entertainment than boomers, CNBC reports. About 53% of millennials versus 15% of baby boomers spend money on Uber rides. And 60% of millennials versus 29% of boomers will drop cash on expensive coffee drinks.

Next: This group is doing a better job of saving money.

13. More people in this group are saving money

Baby boomers are savers. | iStock

Stashing away additional savings is tough, but baby boomers are better at saving money, USA Today reports. Approximately 63% of millennials versus 75% of baby boomers are saving money, according to a Bank of America survey. And although millennial savers lag behind boomers, 16% of millennials have socked away $100,000.

Next: Affording college was easier for this generation.

14. This generation didn’t face the same college financial issues


College has gotten incredibly expensive. | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

College tuition is 150% more expensive for millennials than it was for baby boomers. The average millennial graduated from college in 2016 with an average debt of $37,172, Forbes reports.

Baby boomers see a college education as being their birthright, whereas millennials view college as a huge expense. College debt may be one reason why millennials aren’t buying homes like older generations.

Next: They have more fun money.

15. Surprise! This group has more discretionary spending power

Boomers have more spending power than millannials. | iStock

Advertisers should be more worried about baby boomer spending habits than millennials, according to USA Today. “The fastest-growing segment is the boomer consumer,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for the NPD Group said to USA Today. “And they have a higher level of discretionary spending power.”

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