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Shullman-How-Millionaires-Differ-by-Generation-Mar2014After demonstrating how millionaires’ perspectives differ by gender, the Shullman Research Center is out with a new report showing that “millionaires have their own generation gap” too. Not surprisingly, on a demographic basis, Baby Boomers (aged 49-67) are overrepresented among millionaires (personal net worth of at least $1 million), comprising almost half of these adults, versus roughly one-third of the general population. But while millionaire Boomers skew heavily female, the opposite is true for Millennials (18-33). In fact, some 64% of millionaire Millennials are male, compare to 41% of millionaire Boomers.

Average household income tends to increase alongside millionaires’ age, with Millennials averaging an HHI of $147,000, versus Boomers’ average of $198,000. Interestingly, though, wealthy Millennials have a slightly higher average net worth than Boomers ($2.69 vs. $2.66 billion), although both are significantly outpaced by Gen Xers ($4.31 million).

There’s a significant divergence in personal financial goals, also. For Boomers, the top goal by a clear margin is to have enough income for retirement (69%), while Gen Xers are most commonly looking to provide for their childrens’ college expenses (47%). For Millennials, remaining financial independent (52%) is the top goal; this group is far more interested than the others in becoming rich and making quick profits.

Millennials are also far more optimistic about the US economy than their older counterparts. Some 77% are optimistic, compared to 58% of Gen Xers and 32% of Boomers. Moreover, 72% of Millennials believe the US economy is doing better today than it was a year ago, a sentiment shared by only a minority of Gen Xers (40%) and Boomers (44%).

Perhaps as a result, Millennials are not only the most likely to be satisfied with their personal financial situation, but also to believe that they will be better off in a year’s time.

Despite Millennials being the most optimistic, Gen Xers are just as likely to expect to spend more in the next 12 months, with 59% of both age groups feeling that they’ll do so, versus 21% of Boomers. Gen Xers increased spending might be going to their kids’ college educations rather than to luxury purchases, though. That’s because 82% of Millennials intend to buy one or more luxury items listed, compared to only 47% of Gen Xers and 49% of Boomers. Some of the largest discrepancies in planned purchases are for pieces of fine jewelry costing at least $500 (52% Millennials; 4% Gen Xers; 14% Boomers) and buying fine watches and liquors. In fact, the only areas in which Millennials aren’t the most likely to make a purchase are buying premium beers or ales and taking a luxury cruise.

About the Data: The insights and data presented in the report are based on the Shullman Luxury, Affluence and Wealth Pulse, Fall 2013 Preview Wave, conducted online between August 20 and August 27, 2013, among adults age 18 or older.

Five sample groups were surveyed: in addition to a representative national sample of adults (500 interviews), four household-income segments were targeted to obtain the following number of completed interviews:

  • $75,000 to $149,999: 256 interviews
  • $150,000 to $249,999: 253 interviews
  • $250,000 to $499,999: 253 interviews
  • $500,000 or more: 251 interviews

Additionally, 496 respondents ”” 263 men and 233 women ”” in the survey wave reported that their net worth was $1,000,000 or more and constitute the basis for the report.

Results were weighted to bring the income groups, as well as other key demographics, into line with estimates from the March 2012 Current Population Survey as reported by the Bureau of the Census in the fall of 2012.

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