The roaring 2020s: 3 in 5 Americans plan to spend big after the pandemic

NEW YORK — The “roaring 20s” are about to make a comeback – the 2020s that is. Six in 10 Americans plan to go all out in the coming years by enjoying what they missed out on during the pandemic.

A nationwide survey of 2,000 adults found 70 percent are looking to have more fun with their finances over the next decade, with 84 percent planning to spend more freely because they created a financial safety net during COVID.

Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1929

Roaring 2020sFifty-nine percent of Gen Z respondents (ages 18 to 24) are more likely to enjoy their money in the coming years, compared to 45 percent of millennials (ages 25 to 40) and 25 percent of Gen X (41 to 56). On the other hand, 36 percent of boomers (ages 57+) plan on enjoying their money while also sticking to a very tight budget.

When it comes to emergency funds, close to three-quarters (73%) have a savings account set up for when they need cash most — with an average of $3,816 in the bank.

Commissioned by Alliant Credit Union and conducted by OnePoll, the study revealed 77 percent of millennials rethought their budget since the start of the pandemic, which is more than the 72 percent average set by all generations.

A third of those polled (31%) prefer spending money on experiences, while one in four splurge on material things. Thirty-five percent believe in spending money on both indulgences equally. Over the next decade, respondents want to spend more money on traveling (44%), home goods (40%), consumer electronics (38%), eating at restaurants (37%), and groceries (37%).

“The last couple years have helped us all realize what we value most. Saving for retirement and a rainy day is incredibly important but so is spending money on the things that bring you joy each day,” says Chris Moore, director of deposits and payment product strategy at Alliant Credit Union, in a statement. “As long as you realistically budget for it, you can truly enjoy spending money on that next vacation or new gadget.”

Many are still treading lightly with their money

Roaring 2020sStill, a majority believe that with great fun comes great responsibility. Four in five Americans are careful with their finances, with 73 percent regularly following a monthly budget for all their financial needs.

Out of all generations, Gen Xers are the most cautious with their finances (87%), compared to seniors over 76 (84%), boomers (83%), millennials (78%), and Gen-Zers (76%). Half of the funds in the average person’s budget goes to rent or mortgages (26%) and groceries (23%). Meanwhile, 18 percent regularly goes to recurring bills, 17 percent to utilities, and another 17 percent to recreational activities and fun.

Gen Z Americans especially feel the budget burn: two-thirds of their budget (68%) is spent on rent alone. Forty-six percent of Gen-Z Americans have multiple savings and checking accounts to help them budget. Respondents are also likely to use spreadsheets (45%) and budgeting apps (38%) to help them stay on top of purchases.

“Every successful budget needs a ‘fun’ spending category,” Moore adds. “The key is to set realistic savings goals and budget accordingly so you know exactly how much you can spend on the things you love. It’s OK to adjust your budget each month to spend on the experiences you have missed during the pandemic.”

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