Millennials are making better decisions with their money than most people realise --  and how they spend their tax refunds proves it

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for National GeographicAbout 90% of American taxpayers recently got a paycheck boost.
  • About 90% of Americans have seen a bump in take-home pay since the new tax law went into effect at the beginning of February.
  • Millennials are more inclined to put the extra cash toward savings, investing, and paying down debt, according to a Bank of America survey.
  • Gen X is more likely to use the additional income for day-to-day spending.

What would you do if you suddenly had more money in your pocket?

If you’re a millennial, the answer may likely be “save it.”

The tax bill signed by President Trump back in December resulted in a bump in take-home pay for about 90% of Americans beginning in February, according to the IRS.

With more money in their pockets, workers are mostly putting it toward savings or paying down debt, according to a Bank of America survey of about 1,200 employed Americans.

But there’s a difference between the behaviours of Gen X and millennials that suggests “a greater sense of responsibility than often credited” to the latter.

A higher share of millennials, respondents between the ages of 22 and 37, reported saving (20%), investing (17%), or paying down debt (8%) with their tax reform windfall, while more Gen Xers than millennials said they were using the money for day-to-day spending (11% versus 8%).

Interestingly, about 20% of millennial and Gen X respondents said they didn’t get a tax cut, but Bank of America assumes some people simply didn’t notice the difference, or it was delayed.

Business Insider previously calculated how the change in tax brackets effects single, childless workers who are paid every other week (26 paychecks a year). The new tax law resulted in increases ranging from $US7.78 per paycheck for a worker earning $US20,000 a year, to $US118.45 per paycheck for someone earning $US269,600 a year.

The amounts were based on new guidelines released in January by the IRS, known as tax-withholding tables, that help employers calculate how much to take out of employees’ paychecks in taxes.

In many ways, Gen X is worse off financially than millennials; their saving and spending habits, and lack of retirement planning are “concerning.” Nonmortgage debt has increased for Gen Xers, from an average $US20,000 in 2014 to $US23,000 in 2017, according to a 2017 report from Allianz Life Insurance Company.

The same report revealed 41% of millennials contribute to savings each month, compared to 36% of Gen Xers. Incredibly, the two generations both have about $US35,000 saved for retirement, despite at most a 15-year age difference.

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