A Chunk of Change: Generational Money Shifts

Generational Money Shifts

Just a heads up, this post is sponsored by the fine folks at Chase. This should go without saying, but all opinions are our own and came straight from our own noggins.

Just recently, Johnny and I were driving through our college stomping grounds when we passed the abandoned building that once housed the local Blockbuster Video. We got to talking about how our daughters will never have the joy of combing the movie rental aisles, searching for the last copy of the hot new release, and leaving with a physical rental to watch at home. They’ll never know about misplacing their Blockbuster card, remembering to rewind the tape before returning it, or dropping the video off minutes before the store closed to avoid a late fee. And so the circle of life goes. Our parents don’t understand smartphones, our kids don’t know what Blockbuster is, and we won’t understand how to program our children’s future robots.

While Blockbuster stores have gone the way of the dinosaurs, family finance and money aren’t immune from generational trends and evolution. What was normal 20 or thirty 30 ago no longer applies to many households. Growing up, Johnny and I only had our parents’ financial habits to look to. Some good, some not so good. We took the lessons we felt were valuable, coupled with some ideas and rules that we set as a couple and cobbled together a cohesive financial plan based on what was right for our circumstances. And many of those circumstances (rising college costs, access to credit, technological tools, etc.) are shared among the ͞I used to watch TGIF!͟ generation (aka millennials).

Chase recently released the “Chase Generational Money Talks Study,” which showed just how much money habits have changed over the last few generations, particularly among women. One key stat found that 78% of Millennial women feel that they’re able to make good financial decisions that are new to them, compared to just 71% of Gen X and 67% of Boomer women. In addition, 71% of Millennial women say they’re able to recognize a good financial investment, compared to 59% of Gen X and 55% of Boomer women. Who runs the [financial] world? GIRLS! Well, at least millennial ones.

One of the things that has clearly changed the most from generation to generation is the number of women killing it in the workforce and starting their own businesses. Whether fresh out of college and climbing the corporate ladder or a stay-at-home mom running her own business from her garage, women are more financially savvy and empowered than ever. Because of this transition, more women than any previous generation are confident in their knowledge of the financial world.

In our parents’ and grandparents’ households, roles were clearly defined in black and white. Dad took care of the working and the finances, and mom took care of the house and the kids. In our own house, it’s always been more of a mix. We each contribute in various ways to all aspects of our home — our
children, the cleaning, financial planning, and income-earning. It seems, as Chase’s study shows, we’re not alone in the shifting household trends, a sign that Millennials like us are treading their own paths. And when it comes to more women taking control of their financial futures than ever, I’m all about it.

On a more gender-neutral point, the study also found that 71% of all Millennials claim to be the person responsible for financial decisions vs. 53% of Boomers. There are probably a lot of factors that have contributed to an increased sense of personal financial responsibility and decision-making, but in our marriage, we credit a lot of this to technology. We both feel equally responsible and capable of making financial decisions and knowing our financial standing because we’re armed with smartphones and apps that keep us in the know. At any given moment, we can pull out our phone and know our net worth, our credit score, how much money we have left in our grocery budget, and who’s winning Online Scrabble (usually Johnny). The point being that we both have access to our financial data in real-time which makes us both equally capable of making decisions.

You can read more about the “Chase Generational Money Talks Study” here. How have financial matters changed from generation to generation in your family?

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  • Reply Katy February 9, 2017 at 11:39 am

    I think this is so interesting! I definitely notice differences in my financial “preferences” compared to my parents and my in-laws. One of the biggest things is, my husband and I prefer to put everything on a credit or debit card, so we can easily track spending; whereas our parents prefer to use cash for everything. I am curious if we also feel more responsible or capable to make financial decisions than our parents.

  • Reply Melanie March 12, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I have embraced personal finance and am really interested in it, and my parents weren’t and aren’t interested like I am. Also, they are 70 now, and when they were younger, more people had pensions, and they didn’t have “saving for retirement” on their radar as much as our generation does. I’m very thankful we are constantly reminded to save for later, because I know my parents weren’t reminded with such a frequency. I ask my parents if they saved a lot and saved for purchases and such, but they say not really, so I know generationally in our family a lot has changed!

  • Reply Francis @myBreadmoney March 12, 2017 at 10:40 am

    I love this study!

    Most studies out there tends to revel challenges awaiting Millennials, but this one is actually encouraging. And it definitely reflects our household.

    We make financial decisions together. Cleaning, cooking and watching the kids are not assigned to wife either — we both do it . As far as budgeting, we’re both capable making it. We just try to carry our share, and we’re teaching our kids to do the same.

    There is hope for our generation. Thanks for sharing!

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