Are Older Americans Wealthier than the Young?

CreditDonkey.com, a credit card comparison website, published a new research infographic on the wealth gap between the generations. Older Americans have made dramatic gains in their level of affluence relative to younger generations, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

In 2009, households headed by older adults had a median net worth of $170,494 compared with just $3,662 for those headed by younger adults, revealing that the age-based wealth gap has grown from a 10:1 ratio in 1984 to a stunning 47:1 in 2009.

Over the same period, the percentage of households with no (or negative) net worth rose to eight percent among people aged 65+, but jumped from ten percent to twenty-three percent for households headed by people 35-44, and skyrocketed among householders under 35 from nineteen percent to thirty-seven percent.

Infographics: Age Gap
Courtesy of: CreditDonkey

Meanwhile, another research about the future of payments by American Express shows that over half (52 percent) of consumers ages 18-24 are likely to try new technology-enabled payment tools as they become available compared with 23 percent of those ages 55-65, suggesting that the fate of emerging payments clearly lies in the hands of millennials. (Read: “Consumers Want Trusted Financial Institutions”)

“You’d expect members of the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers to have more home equity and other assets than Generation X and the Millennials simply by virtue of their age,” says Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey.com.

“However, even when you deduct home equity from the equation, older people are doing much better than their parents, and younger adults are doing much worse.”

One would also expect older adults to manage spending and credit more wisely, says Tran, but the data also reflects a long-term decline in good job opportunities for young people.

In terms of their economic, political and social views, Generation X and Millennials are generally more tolerant of racial and ethnic diversity, as well as same-sex marriage, and lean heavily Democratic at the polls.

The Silent Generation is more likely to feel threatened by the changing face of America, generally leans Republican, and holds more conservative views. CreditDonkey released the findings today, March 27.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman