Financial Comfort More Important with Age

October 26, 2010

Financial comfort increases in importance for global consumers as they age, according to new data from Gallup.

Oldest Consumers Have Highest, Lowest Quality of Life Scores
Consumers age 55 and older who say they are living comfortably on their current income rate their overall quality of life as 7.12 on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the best possible. This rating significantly drops to 5.65 for consumers in this age group getting by on their current income, and then declines to 4.54 for those finding it difficult financially and only 3.67 for those finding it very difficult.

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The oldest consumers report the highest quality of life among all age groups in the “living comfortably” category and the lowest quality of life in the “very difficult” category. Conversely, consumers age 15-24 report a much narrower quality of life average score spread (6.81 in “living comfortably” category and 4.34 in “finding it very difficult” category).

In addition, the youngest consumers report a higher quality of life than the oldest in all categories except the most financially comfortable, suggesting financial comfort generally plays a less central role in younger consumers’ lives than older consumers’ lives. For the most part, quality of life scores for consumers in the 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 age groups indicate a gradually increasing emphasis on financial comfort.

Oldest Consumers More Pessimistic about Future
Unlike present life ratings, older respondents at all financial comfort levels are more negative about their lives five years in the future than are younger respondents. However, underscoring the increasing importance of “living comfortably” in one’s life, expectations about the future deteriorate twice as rapidly among adults who are “finding it very difficult” as do ratings among those who are financially comfortable.

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Harris Poll: Oldest Consumers Most Financially Pessimistic
US consumers who fall into the category of matures (age 65 and older) demonstrate substantially more economic pessimism than any other age bracket, according to a recent Harris Poll. Only 8% of matures expect their household’s financial condition to get better in the next six months and 42% expect it to get worse, with 49% expecting it to stay the same. Less than 0.5% expect it to get much better, while 8% expect it to get much worse.

In contrast, the most optimistic age group, Echo Boomers (age 18-33), differ less dramatically from the norm, with 28% expecting their household’s financial condition to get better, 53% to remain the same, and 19% to get worse. Most Echo Boomers anticipating change also only expect a little change in either direction.

About the Data: Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults in 120 countries, 2,000 adults in Russia, 6,000 adults in India, 4,150 adults in China, and 750 adults in New Zealand and Hong Kong, aged 15 and older, conducted in 2009 and 2010.

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