Data Journalist

And nearly 3 in 10 millennials think it’s more important to live life to the fullest rather than be fiscally responsible

Americans handle their money differently depending on who you ask – age, career choices, and lifestyle can all influence a person’s financial needs. A new study from YouGov find that few Americans (10%) think believe that there is a “one size fits all” financial plan for everyone.



More (43%) believe in a middle ground – that there are basic financial planning tenets everyone should follow though those specifics vary by person. Nearly the same amount of people (41%) feel that each person’s situation is totally different, and should be addressed individually.

The basic financial tenets that many Americans say they live by include keeping a budget or spending plan (40%), checking their credit scores at least annually (36%), paying off credit cards in full every month (30%), living below their means (30%), diverting part of their income into savings (22%), and contributing as much as they can afford or are allowed to into a retirement account (21%). Age and experience seems to play a factor in financial savviness, as those 55-and-over tend to follow these best practices more than any other age group.



Most Americans say that it’s more important to be financially responsible and miss out on opportunities (68%) than live life to the fullest (21%). The vast majority (80%) of Americans 55 and older favor fiscal responsible, while just 58% of millennials say the same. Nearly three in ten millennials (29%) say that living life to the fullest is more important, even if it means not saving money in the process.


It may be due to these values that, when asked whether millennials are considered better or worse at managing their money than previous generations, 45% say they’re worse. Even millennials are more likely to self-perceive their generation as worse (30%) with money than they are better (25%). That perception of younger Americans may be a product of the times and economy though – according to 44% of Americans who say millennials are worse off financially compared to previous generations.



When it comes to financial advice, Americans say they look to their spouse or partner most (28%), followed by the internet (23%), personal financial advisors (18%), and their parents (18%).



Age plays a factor. Americans over the age of 55 are the most likely to report that they turn to a professional financial advisor (24%), second only to their partners (27%). Millennials, however, are most likely to turn to their parents (39%) or family members (21%) for help. Just 14% of millennials say they don’t look to anyone for financial advice, a figure that more than doubles among 35- to 54-year-olds (29%) and those 55-and-over (35%).

Read more results from this poll here

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