Baby boomers lag other generations in savings levels

On average, members of the baby boomer generation saved approximately $4,060 over the course of 2023, lagging behind the average savings levels of every other surveyed generation. This is according to the newest edition of the “Wealth Watch” survey conducted by New York Life Insurance Co.

By comparison, millennials (ages 28 to 43 last year) led all age groups with an average savings of about $9,300. Members of Generation Z (ages 12 to 27) were next at $6,441 per person, followed by Generation X (ages 44 to 59) at $5,132.

Still, the survey found that financial resiliency was a trait exhibited by most respondents last year.

“[We found] financial resiliency among American adults, even in the face of high interest rates and rising credit card debt,” New York Life said in an announcement of the results. “Two-thirds of adults (64%) feel confident in their ability to meet their financial goals, and over half (52%) of adults saved the amount they wanted or more in 2023.”

While there was a discrepancy between the amount adults intended to save ($7,435.57 on average) compared to actual savings ($6,138.06), the results still marked an improvement in the total savings metric from 2022. That year, adults aimed to save $5,437 but only saved $5,011 on average.

“Our data clearly show that having a financial strategy is a key factor in not only feeling confident about reaching one’s goals, but in actually reaching them,” said Donn Froshiesar, who leads consumer insights at New York Life. “Younger generations are reporting strong engagement with their financial strategies.”

Members of Gen Z and millennials were more likely to report weekly savings strategy reviews and a desire to seek input from a financial professional compared to the other demographics, Froshiesar said. But the picture was not entirely rosy for these younger generations.

“But despite evidence of strong habits, debt is still getting in their way,” Froshiesar explained.
“Gen Zers ranked credit card debt as the second most impactful factor on their finances in 2023 behind inflation.”

Baby boomers and millennials were equal in their outlook for having the ability to reach their savings goals at 64%, according to the survey. Gen Z is far and away the most confident cohort in this area (76%), while Gen X posted the lowest confidence score (55%).

Men (75%) also demonstrated far more confidence in meeting their financial goals than women (57%), with married men and women being slightly more confident overall (77% for married men; 59% for married women).

When providing perspective about the survey results to CNBC, Froshiesar was not surprised at how the data broke down demographically.

“Gen Xers and boomers may be more focused on funding children’s college educations, caring for an aging parent, saving for retirement or even entering a phase where they are spending down assets in retirement rather than saving,” he said.