Visa USA, which commissioned a survey of Echo Boomers (born 1979 to 1989) and Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964), reports at least one interesting irony: even though the older crowd generally has a negative attitude toward the younger demographic, the kids see having money as a way to give back to others, especially family members and charities.
One thing the generations agree on is this: Both are concerned about saving for retirement.
Echo Boomers are the nation's second-largest generation and, eight years hence, will account for approximately $2.45 trillion in annual spending.
This generation appears to be misunderstood.
Visa finds that Echos are more practical and mature in their spending habits and more generous to others--characteristics often not associated with them.
"The Baby Boomer generation has had a profound influence on the U.S. economy over the past several decades," says Wayne Best, Visa USA's chief economist, in a news release. "However, as they enter the 'golden years' and their spending influence wanes, we must begin to focus on the even larger spending impact that Echo Boomers will have on our economy."
The study reveals that Echo Boomers, who believe they are facing a difficult economic future, are demonstrating a more practical and mature approach to spending beyond their years.
While Echo Boomers view themselves as responsible spenders, they are increasingly skeptical as to whether their entire generation is doing the same. According to the survey, when asked to compare their peers to members of other generations, 65% of Echo Boomers believe their generation is falling behind economically, and 81% do not believe their generation is spending more responsibly.
Although Echo Boomers have been characterized as a generation too focused on its own wants and needs and unmindful of others, survey data suggests that they view spending as a way to give back to others, particularly family members and charities.
According to the survey, Echo Boomers' and Baby Boomers' perceptions of each other provide striking contrasts. Whereas Echo Boomers have mostly positive views of their older counterparts, Baby Boomers have largely negative views of Echo Boomers and tend to misunderstand this generation.
When you consider that many of the individuals setting business and marketing strategy today are Baby Boomers," says Susanne Lyons, CMO, Visa USA, "it's alarming to see that as a generation, they have various misconceptions of a demographic projected to be so influential."
Additional highlights from "How America Spends" include: