30 Ways Your Spending Habits Change With Age

auto spending curveMid-life crisis?

Photo: HS Dent

It’s that time of year again when Americans spend like crazy for their loved ones and themselves.But everyone’s needs and wants evolve dramatically with age.

HS Dent, an economic forecasting firm, compiled Census data on spending behaviour and presented them as a series of demand curves (see right).  The curves measure average annual expenditure for a given product over the age of the consumer.

The charts couldn’t be more plain. But with a tiny bit of imagination, the curves offer a vivid look at how spending patterns change over time.

What are some things we learned?  Well, men spend less on underwear as they get old, but spending on robes spike near the end of life.  As we get older we use a lot less plastic cutlery.  And alcohol consumption stays pretty steady from the day we turn 21 until we turn around 70.

NOTE: All of the commentary is our own and not the analysis of HS Dent.

Eventually, you stop buying magazines off of newsstands.

That's because you're saving money by getting magazine subscriptions.

We use less cheap flatware as we get older.

But as you grow into your 50s, you learn to buy nicer flatware. And you will probably use those until you die.

And so goes your hearing.

This is why you invest in healthcare stocks as the population ages.

Your social life gets much less interesting with age.

Air travel peaks before retirement.

Men really let themselves go once they hit their 40s.

20-year-olds drink just as much as 70-year-olds.

However, smoking is a bit more volatile.

Did you ever notice how hand towels at your grandma's house are really old?

And the guest bedroom at grandma's house was never that comfortable was it?

Camping is for you young folk.

You're probably spending on your kids early in your adulthood.

Your financial situation gets much more complicated in your 50s.

The mid-life crisis car purchase actually happens in your 50s.

What are men's furs?

Hugh Hefner is single-handedly driving the loungewear demand for the 80+.

Presented without comment.

Women are at their most fabulous in their 50s.

No surprise, but your visions gets worse.

But grandma's garden always looked nice.

You clearly get more paranoid with age.

More on that paranoia.

Chances are you'll be moving into a nursing home after you turn 75.

Here's one area where you splurge as you near death.

You spend more on this stuff at an old age. But once you get really old, someone else is paying.

Hopefully, this isn't evidence that people spend less time calling their elders.

The value of a comfortable seat never gets old.

BONUS: Here are 5 more curves we thought were interesting...

It appears maths becomes less relevant after college.

Younger adults need the most help with their kids.

People will always love to read.

Older people like to take the bus.

Vanity seems to taper off after age 55.

But in the future, spending on everything may fall

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