Millennials not as bad at budgeting as we think, suggests research

In the battle between Millennials and Baby Boomers for who has it the hardest and who is to blame for young people not being able to buy property and get ahead financially in New Zealand, one thing is clear from recent research we commissioned: they’re both better off than the in-between Generation X when it comes to budgeting and knowing where their money is going.

When asked, “In general, how sorted are your finances?” one in four Millennials and one in four Baby Boomers say, “Excellent – I have a budget or plan that I always stick to”, while only one in 10 of Generation X say the same.

Credit Simple CEO David Scognamiglio said the research suggests a more even playing field when it comes to who is best at managing finances. “And interestingly, it also suggests that getting older doesn’t necessarily equate to becoming savvier with money, even though older people tend to have better credit scores.

“We hold some interesting beliefs about young people when it comes to money, and commentators are often found talking about how Millennials would be able to get a foot on the property ladder if only they could curb their avocado on toast habit and stop buying so many takeaway coffees. But this research suggests Millennials have a good handle on their finances and they know where their money is going.

“It’s tough for young people starting out in their working life not just financially – in terms of paying all the bills – but also being able to secure credit when they want it. That’s not just getting their first credit card, but being able to get a utility account easily, for example.

“While they’re managing their money well, Millennials should look to build a credit history sooner rather than later – but in the most responsible and careful way possible.”

Mr Scognamiglio said the research suggests that Kiwis aged between 35 – 44 years old are finding it the hardest to keep on top of finances, and could likely be caused by the unexpected financial pressures that typically comes with running a household of young kids.

“This generation tends to be in the squeeze zone,” Mr Scognamiglio said. “They’re in a position where they need to be extremely careful to make sure all the bills are paid on time and in full – particularly with positive credit information being increasingly fed into credit reporting. It’s easy for things to slip through the cracks, so having a money management strategy is essential.

“On the flipside, those 18 – 24-year-old Millennials may still be getting some support from their Baby Boomer parents, without the added pressure of dependents of their own, leaving them with more time and focus to track their income versus spending.

“Baby Boomers will equally likely be experiencing greater levels of financial freedom with their kids leaving the nest and potentially benefiting from a slower pace of life, allowing them to focus on their finances and prepare for their retirement.”

Overall Kiwis across the age spectrum are doing well, with three in four (76%) New Zealanders saying they are either “fairly good” or “excellent” at planning their finances, knowing where their money is going and sticking to a budget.

The top group are those aged 65+ where 89% consider themselves either “fairly good” or “excellent” at keeping on top of their spending.

Only 5% of Kiwis place themselves in the “poor” or “very poor” section and the remaining 18% consider themselves average at budgeting, only occasionally keeping track of their spending and finances.

Keen to know if your credit health is in shape? You can get your credit score for free right here at

Credit Simple

Credit Simple gives all Kiwis free access to their credit score, as well as their detailed credit report. See how your credit score compares by age, gender and community and gain valuable insights into what it all means.

All stories by: Credit Simple