I’ve been saving up a bunch of stats that PR companies send me, and after seeing a whopper of one today I decided it was the day to unleash them :)
Check ’em out and see where you fall, and then we’ll recap the takeaways at the end..
Ready. Set. Hide your coffee!
“The typical consumer will pay $279,002 over their lifetime in interest payments.” (Credit.com)
I just about crapped my pants when I read this. That’s a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS! Can you imagine? And that’s after taxes! This of course varies with where you live (see below) and how much of a financial bad ass you are, but if you’re a typical consumer you’d literally have to earn over $400,000 just to cover this… And then you still have to work off the *principal*.
In other words, Cash Rules Everything Around Me (C.R.E.A.M.!), get the money, dolla dolla bill y’all.
The state with the lowest lifetime cost of debt? Iowa @ $129,394. The highest? Washington D.C. @ $451,890 (Credit.com)
This is the part where most financial bloggers/”experts” will tell you if you want to save “all you have to do is move!” But I’m not most bloggers, and to that I always scream at the top of my lungs, “MONEY IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD!!!! Why would you leave all your friends, family, career, mountains, lakes, cities, subways, cows, hipsters, seas, deserts, or polar bears if you love where you live?? Saving money is great, but actually *enjoying* your life is better!”
Now if it’s a temporary thing, or you don’t enjoy where you’re living right now? Well, then by all means it’s fair game… But there are plenty of other ways to save/make more money than just moving across the country. And sometimes you might even find yourself moving somewhere that’s even more expensive for opportunities! *Gasp*
“Nearly a third (32 percent) of respondents would rather have “excellent” credit than receive one million dollars.” (CapitalOne.com)
This is the stat that almost killed my laptop this morning… The responses from my tweet says it all:
(Sign me up for selling my credit score too!!!)
“59 percent of Millennials have set aside an average of $9,100 in an emergency fund, more than older generations (Gen X-ers have $8,700, while Boomers have $7,100).” (Fidelity.com)
Yeah Millennials!! Finally some GOOD stuff to read about y’all! (I swear I don’t get why millennials get such a bad rap??? I feel like every generation gets hated on until the next one comes around, and then all of a sudden everything is rosy again… Maybe cuz they eventually become in charge of things? ;))
I gotta say too – $9,100 is no chump change. If any of you have that banked away too you’re doing great! And beats out my current savings stash, sigh…
“Less than half (45%) always check to see if a website is secure when shopping online.” (Experian.com)
I’m including this in here because I never do this :( I don’t shop that much online outside of Amazon anyways, but probably a good thing to be aware of! Here are 11 tips for safe shopping via PCMag.com, and #2 is particularly an easy and quick one we can all do:
Look for the Lock — Never ever, ever buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. You’ll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar.
Those with a bachelors degree make an average of $1,000,000 more than those with just a high school diploma. (BachelorsDegreeCenter.org)
That site doesn’t scream reliability, but they state the data comes from the Dept. of Education and similar places, and since I’ve heard comparable stats over the years I feel it’s def. worth sharing here. If only because going to college is starting to get an even worse wrap than millennials! BUT EDUCATION IS KILLER, y’all!!
I know it costs money and we’re quick to shun anything debt-related here on $$$ blogs, but time and time again it’s shown that those with higher educations perform much better in the long run than those without. Nothing’s ever guaranteed, of course, and you still have to hustle your tails off to make things happen, but a degree is far from the worst thing in the world you can be spending your money on. And contrary to popular belief, not all of us are so entrepreneurial that we can just go out and launch a billion dollar tech company after high school… (Or is graduating high school now frowned upon too?)
The takeaways today?
- Cash is king
- Live somewhere that makes you *happy* – not just for savings (unless you can be happy anywhere and/or you’re currently miserable where you’re at)
- Good credit is awesome, but a million dollars is even MORE AWESOME! Don’t forget the reason *why* we strive for good credit to begin with… (and avoiding debt is more important than credit scores too)
- Someone needs to make “Save Like a Millennial” bumper stickers! $9,000+ banked at that age (or any age, really) is a helluva start…
- Look for the HTTPS in web sites when you’re shopping online (and never give out your credit card info over email either – another sure sign something shady is going on)
- Higher education is still REALLY good for you despite the costs. If you can’t – or don’t want to – afford college, at least harness the web to self-educate yourself on anything and everything. Particularly in the field you’re looking to get into. I hear blogging doesn’t require a degree :)
While stats are fun, the only thing that really matters in the end is what *you’re* doing. If you’re happy with how things are currently going, great job! You’re on the right path! If not, it may be time to look inward and make some changes…
If there’s anything I’ve learned over these 8 years of blogging, life never stands still. And neither do our finances either. Always gotta keep our pulse on them and roll with the changes!
Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!
I don’t understand how people would choose good credit over a million dollars. I wonder how the question was worded and if it was confusing? Or maybe people answered credit score because they already have a million? It just makes no sense…
Thanks for the interesting post, J$.
Consider who conducted the survey— they have an interest (no pun intended) in the outcome
I totally rather have $1 million but a good credit score. Give me $10 million and I’ll happily have zero credit score!
Hmmm.. I would take the one million $$$ rather than having an excellent credit score. :)
Cool stats and glad to see Millennials stepping up on the emergency savings. Must be the influence of all the Millennial Pf bloggers out there – lol!
And who wants an excellent credit score vs. $1 million? I have some bartering I’d like to do with them…
Good point about the geographic arbitrage. Money is a tool to have a good life, not a tool to force you to live in Timbukto, unless you WANT to of course!
Just googled to see where the heck it is, haha, (Mali) and it looks like a cool place to visit! :)
Fun story, I grew up thinking Timbuktu was an imaginary city thanks to Disney and their movie The Aristocats. I was flabbergasted when I figured out it was a real city.
Why do you think I just Googled it??? :)
Hereby offering an 800+ credit score for sale for the price of $1 million! Hahahaha — Can’t imagine I’ll find any takers here. ;-) Couldn’t agree more on where to live. Nevermind that most inexpensive places also have poorly paid jobs. But it’s so important to build your life somewhere that offers the things you value, whether that’s the people you most want to be around, the cultural activities you value, a climate you appreciate, the outdoors opportunities you crave, etc. We know we could be retired already if we moved to Iowa, but that wouldn’t be worth it! So we’re stuck working a little longer to be in a place we completely love… worth it!
The only problem is that most people with bad credit scores probably don’t have a million to trade with us – womp womp…
SO TRUE. HAhahaha.
Uh oh. I don’t see the lock on Budgets Are Sexy. I can’t buy anything here!
Haha… this is true!
I wonder if the interest stat includes home mortgage interest. That could easily do it since a home in some of the higher cost of living areas would throw off its value in interest over a 30 yr life, or more depending on which decade you got the mortgage in (i.e. At what rate.).
The credit score thing is a great example of not seeing the forest for the trees. If you build a life of debt and can only see surviving on debt, then I guess the score might appear more important to you?
For the security bit look next to the URL in the browser. If it’s secure you’ll see a little lock. Now click the lock. This will tell you who they are and what security company guarantees their site. Why the extra effort? A few years ago there was a virus that could imitate https and ssl certificates. It’s unlikely to repeat, but I don’t take chances. Also use a credit card so if something does happen the credit card company will handle it.
And yes – I’m pretty sure the interest stat includes mortgages :) If not, people must be REALLY buying up some cars and credit cards!!
UPDATE: Forgot about student loans… that alone could do it – ugh.
Whoa, interesting stats, J$! I agree that you gotta live somewhere that makes you happy. :) I’ll pay my San Diego sunshine tax all day long vs. living somewhere else.
Interesting stats on the millennial savers! I’m sure they’re out there, I’ve just haven’t met them yet. ;)
We DO exist :).
Yay Millennials – making me proud
I don’t think we would ever consider moving just to find a cheaper area (we are in the Midwest already but MN is far from the cheapest state to live in) – finding a cheaper location to get away from MN winters may be on the table however
Yeah, I don’t know how y’all do it haha…
You’ll be better at surviving an apocalypse than I, though!
Woot! Glad to know that what I’ve saved for emergencies is enough. I kept worrying that I wasn’t saving well enough and keep “hiding” money from myself there. But I’m right there with the millennials. Wait. Am I a millennial? Who knows, but these stats make me feel better about my nest egg…but then again I do live in the Washington DC area. Sigh.
“MONEY IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD!!!! Why would you leave all your friends, family, career, mountains, lakes, cities, subways…” Well said! Our area isn’t high cost of living, but we’ve sacrificed career advancement in order to stay near friends and family because that’s way more important, and pays off in terms of happiness.
That is a lot of interest the average person pays! Crazy! It seems related to people preferring a high credit score for a million dollars.
I’m still thinking about that credit score tweet. It speaks volumes about our consumer culture and our priorities (Buy the house, get the six-figure mortgage…then whine about it on your blog. Oh, that’s just me.) But I also think it speaks to student loans and what people perceive as attainable. I thought I was the queen of 0% cards and never paying interest, but then I realized I paid $7,000 alone last year for the pleasure of letting the bank own my house while I take care of it ;)
Haha yeah… money costs a lot when you don’t use cash! and really who can scoop up houses/college tuition with cash??? at least when you’re first starting out?
Number 1 isn’t shocking. If you buy a house, you pay a crap ton of interest, even in a low interest rate environment.
But with an 830 credit score they will give you a million dollars, you just have to pay them back a measly pittance of two million dollars. Best of both worlds right?
Seriously though, I hate banks………I am really hoping peer to peer lending gets more popular and put those soulless greedy corps and the people that run them in their place.
The stats nerd in me is both intrigued and horrified by these statistics. I wish I could say I am surprised, but all of these stats point to a few common trends:
1. Rampant consumerism, which says, just give me the stuff and tell me how much I have to pay per month,
2. Pursuit of the wrong goals – that is the only way to characterize the actions of the folks who would choose an excellent credit score over a cool million. Like others, I wish I could read the wording of that question.
As a native Iowan, I’m now beating myself up over moving! You can’t beat the cost of living there, and I’m definitely finding that out as I moved to Charleston, SC.
oh man, Charleston is soooo beautiful though!! one of my dream places to live! (but only if I can live downtown in the historic districts ;))
I’m shocked about the good credit thing. I have excellent credit! Give me the million! lol!
Iowan here. I do believe that stat on low debt in the state and I think for the majority of the state it seems accurate. We just happen to live in the highest c.o.l. area in the state – you know, where the jobs are.
Thanks for the stats! And, I’d totally sell my credit score for a mil!
You should totally make those bumper stickers!! Though I’m not a millennia but I think they would be great conversation starter for the car behind the bumper sticker…Like, “What does that mean? I hear they are bad savers…is this true? Maybe they are good… How much do you have saved?” It could jump start a whole finance convo!!
As for the stats…it still boggles my mind that retired folks have so little in an emergency fund. It isn’t that $7100 is a small amount, but they have had their WHOLE lives to save it! Ugh… As for Idaho – there is something to be said for the farming life. Hard working salt of the earth people…I know, I watched the Bachelor with Chris Soules! :)
I would totally buy that bumper sticker!
*makes note to look for bumper sticker maker people*
LOL @ those replies to the million dollar question. Also, stats always resonate with me for some reason. I remember them more than advice that actually impacts me personally. I think I just like to have something shocking to say at dinner parties. Because, you know, I get invited to a lot of dinner parties.
That is interesting? Maybe it’s like certain quotes…. Most I forget, but every now and then I catch one that really changes the way I think/act and it’s just incredible. In fact, that just happened over these past three months and you’ll see just *how much* it affected me here soon when I drop a bomb on this site ;)
Iowa ‘captive’ here. Only reason it’s low cost is there isn’t much to do here! But it’s fun to live in a super nice apartment for less than it would on either coast.
Also, as a millennial, I don’t have quite that much in cash saved up right now, but I’ve been averaging just about that all year. I put a few months rent on my CC for the bonus so I’ll be building the cash reserves back up now that I’m solid on rent for a while.
I love seeing some good news about millennials. I think we all came of age in such a bad time that we’re all super scared. I know in my friend group, we all seem to keep decent stashes for emergencies.
Also, very good point about the living thing. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to live in a place if you like the place! A lot of people think we’re all “homo economicus” – some robot that just does everything based on the ideal money calculation. But that’s not how people actually act! Nor should we.
So on the additional earnings generated by a college education. May be the case but they would say that wouldn’t they?
None and I mean none, of the smart young people I know are going to college because they don’t want to end up like many 40 somethings I know, saddled with a debt they are still servicing, 25 years later.
That’s a challenge for the country more than an individual. My son is getting going saving and he will have money in Mutuals and IRAs for 25 years without debt, and even if he earns less, that compounding will make up the difference, while the 40 somethings are still paying off their school.
I think it’s a false narrative that we have bought into.
Not all colleges are stupid expensive…and most degrees are the same regardless of school…for the most part. One can attend school and not pay for it into your 40’s. Both of my kids have degrees and NEITHER of them have any debt….and it wasn’t because we paid all the costs…it’s because they went to great State schools that gave them a solid education at 1/3 to 1/4 the price of a private school.
I am a hiring manager and I pay NO ATTENTION to the school credentials but rather the individual, as I determine whether they made the best use of their time and education…and that they have the aptitude and attitude to succeed on my team.
Personally I would never recommend that a child not attend college if they have the desire and the ability to get a degree. It needn’t be a path to crushing debt.
Thanks for chiming in, DEC1, I agree.
I would say that I am in a pretty low cost area. I live in Northwest Indiana. I’m contemplating a move to Indianapolis but I can’t get past my low mortgage payment I have now. If I moved I would be doubling my housing payment. I can’t really justify that.
Kudos to millennials for saving! They do get a very bad rap so that stat shocked me too.
If I had a bad credit score give me the MIL — I would build that credit score back up in no time. I’m truly shocked by that stat though! The vibe I get from a lot of people in general is that having a good credit score is not a priority so I am surprised most people didn’t say they wanted a $1M. People are weird!
I’m so happy I haven’t seen one “It’s easy to save money when you live in your parent’s basement” comments about the millennials! Haha I think being in high school/college during the recession made us a little hesitant to go without those cash reserves.
As a millennial I actually have more than that average saved up…my problem is now I’m comfortable with a large stash and I’m having a hard time transitioning into investing instead of saving.
Hah! I’d totally move back with my parents if my wife allowed it (my mom would die having the grandkids under their roof!). I really want one of those compounds where all your family members have their own little houses in a circle or something so it’s like your own little village :) I guess first we all need to be living in the same town, but hey – baby steps!
Those emergency funds are rather impressive. As the grandmother of the millennial group (I’m 33), I feel proud.
“Hey, is this heaven?”
“No. It’s Iowa.”
Hah! Good find.
Wow, good job Millenials.
I believe the interest stat. We’ll pay more than that with our current mortgages. I don’t think it’s a big deal because we’re using the money to invest instead of accumulating in properties. They should separate out mortgage interests.
That lifetime interest payment is depressing. I think it’s reasonable if that is going to low-rate mortgage interest, but I suspect most people pay a lot of interest in addition to that.
The good credit score over $1,000,000 fact is hard to believe. These are clearly the people who are struggling with personal finances.
Completely agree with you on education. It’s easy to hate on it when the cost is rising exponentially but there’s no doubt in my mind that my MBA will pay for itself many times over, especially since I received tuition reimbursement from my employer and only paid about $5k myself.
The key is to make sure you get a degree (and advanced degrees) in something that will generate enough income to make it worth it. Don’t go to school just for the sake of learning. That’s what the internet is for :)
it will be interesting to see how much more the whole education system changes with the internet as time goes on… It’s still relatively new in the grand scheme of things!
Living in “expensive” places can have advantages as well. We live in Connecticut, and still manage a luxurious lifestyle for less than 40K a year. While there are neighborhoods with million dollar homes, in our blue collar neighborhood most homes sell for ~200k. We pay higher taxes but get to benefit from all the amenities of living in New England. Since we live close to the major airports in NYC we also get to travel cheaper. So while we could live for less in other places, we could not live the way we do for less :)
Def. good things to consider :)
The lifetime interest number is impressive in aggregate but it only works out to $5,600 a year over 50 years of working and early stages of retirement. Not a bad number if you include mortgage interest in my opinion. And those focused on good credit instead of the million dollars will probably never have a million dollars.
Ok, I didn’t read all the comments so maybe someone has already said this so…
1. The debt is a killer. Imagine if you had half that or less and invested it for 30-40 years what it would be worth!
2. On the moving issue: living near family is fine with me. Living in an expensive city is fine with me. Individuals make individual choices and some like this and some like that. So if you live in an expensive city because you want to, I have no problem with that.
I do object to people who rationalize living in an expensive city as not really being that costly. Uh, yes it is costly. Look at the data. there’s no way around it.
Second, you don’t have to live in an expensive place to have fantastic things. I live in a low COL market that has views of mountains all around. Hard to beat that! Oh, and my family is working on moving out here because it’s so awesome!
Note: J Money — you should come out for a visit. We could do the Incline (Google it).
3. My credit score was 800 last I checked. Very willing to trade it in for $1 million.
4. My MBA was by far the best money move I’ve ever made. Other than marrying my wife, of course. :)
I will do the Incline with you, but only if you supply me with enough beer to help me recover please :)
I mean, location is important, but you ultimately have control over what interest you’re paying (ie. paying off debt instead of letting it continue to accrue, avoiding debt in the first place, etc.)
Hoooly crap, the secure website one is crazy to me. With all of the sketchy websites out there, why take chances?
I think anyone who doesn’t have a great relationship with their credit score would think that it was actually valuable and worth more than a million. Of course, those of us who have great credit scores have gotten there because we learned good financial habits already and we know that we could do way more with $1M than we need to do with a credit score. It’s only useful to people who need credit, pretty much, and except for my real estate investing and credit card games, we really don’t *need* it day to day. And once I build my little empire up, I won’t need credit for the investing, either!
Good point about who needs it and who doesn’t as much… But anything you’d ever need good credit for you could buy in full (and with cash) if you had a million dollars? I guess it would be worse if you had the bad credit score *forever* and no way to improve it but even then a million would still be hard to turn down
If you give me $1,000,000 I can use it to fix my credit score. Is that like having my cake and eating it too? lol
My excellent credit, and $2.75, gets me a ride on the subway.
Interesting stats to be sure. Sign me up as one of those willing to sell an 800+ credit score for a million bucks. The lifetime interest payments don’t surprise me if that includes mortgage interest.
I’m over here wondering what would make anyone in their right mind choose good credit over one million bucks. I can’t fathom that at all.
I knew there was a reason I live in Iowa!!! I mean, besides the fact that it is where I was born and raised and my family is all here. Honestly, I sometimes think about moving someplace where it is warm year round, but then I think about my low cost of living and proximity to family and decide that I’ll just move south when I’m retired (Just like half the country, lol)
You win all around! :)
IF these were surveys, be very mindful they are usually not accurate. I hope we never pay so much interest, but when you have a mortgage its inevitable. I agree cash is king. Keep saving Millennials, even though I don’t know if super saving Millennials exist, I haven’t seen any who save that much. Take Care
Awesome article, J. $$$$!
Don’t know why folks would rather have excellent credit over a million $$, though.
Keep the good stuff coming!
Mind blowing and baffling stats brother !
On the millennial topic I watched a hilarious “sponsor a millennial” spoof video today, I should find it for you and Ill post it on your Facebook page.
YES – THANK YOU FOR THAT!!! Was hilarious!!
I shared it on my FB page too – cracks me the hell up, haha…
I can’t believe the timing of this article. Native Iowan and have lived elsewhere for 20 years and as part of our next chapter we are thinking about moving back to be closer to family, friends and evidently a lot of people with common sense. Sure Iowa doesn’t have the wow factor of other states in terms of jaw dropping landscapes but I’m choosing people over places this time around and it doesn’t hurt that we can be in a much better place financially which brings a lot of happiness.
BEAUTIFUL!!! People > places for sure. I hope this gave you the extra push to go back – so excited for you :)
Some interesting stats, J…
Since the college education/lifetime earnings statistics seemed maybe unreliable, I thought I’d share the following link to a page on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, which seems to provide some pretty good support for the number here. The BLS statistics show average weekly earnings for bachelor’s degree holders and for those with just high school diplomas. The college grads earn an average of ~$400 more weekly. Multiplied by 52 weeks a year and a 45 year career horizon, the product is about $936,000. Which is close enough for government work.
I’m not sure I’d cheer the Millennial emergency fund thing. I’ve seen that same statistic, and my read on it is that Millennials tend to understand their finances worse than older generations. Emergency funds are unambiguously bad for wealth generation. If Millennials reduced their emergency fund holdings and held more wealth in equities, they’d have a portfolio allocation more similar to older generations and would be positioned to grow their wealth faster.
Just some thoughts. Thanks for the collection here.
Nice sleuthing! Thanks for dropping it over my man.
I want to sell my credit score too! I’m creating a Google alert for that one so I can be first at the auction site !
Haha… don’t forget to tell us too after you get yours first! ;)
Love the takeaways at the end. Nice, easy summary.
As for the $1M vs the credit score…that’s from folks who don’t get that once you have $1M, you likely don’t give a s*#% about your credit score. Society’s been brainwashed by creditors on this one. *sigh*
BTW: 25% of folks also think the sun revolves around the earth…*face palm*. Source: TV…because every stat spewed on TV is true…right?
Great post. It’s crazy to think about the way people view money. But it’s the information bias inside of us right? Being in the budgeting world we think it’s easy but we forget the amount of time it took for us to get to a sustainable and reasonable budget. I hope we can teach the next generation through our failures.
I’d definitely go for excellent credit, which means I can achieve my 1 million target or more! Right J Money?
Great news about millennials doing so well with emergency savings! It’s a sign that a paradigm shift really is taking place in society, and we’re getting smarter with money. Now I’ve got to get my older generation on board too : ) As for credit scores – they’re a measure of how good you are as a debtor. If you have zero debt, you have a zero credit rating. (Ask Dave Ramsey.) I’ll take the $1 million please.
I know – so true about the score… Some get penalized just for avoiding toxic stuff to begin with :(
The idea of moving just for money and leaving behind everything and everyone you love always rubs me wrong.
I would also go ahead and trade my credit score for $1m.
Give me the million dollars over the credit score anyday! I can rebuild a credit score with that much money! I can’t believe some people.
I’m surprised at the secure check when shopping online, I would have guess like 90% of people don’t check for that. I know I do only on occasion.
Yeah – you can do a lot with a million dollars. And your credit score will be the last thing on your mind, haha…
I was totally thinking “why wouldnt people want good credit over money?’ and completely missed the point: When FI YOU DO NOT NEED CREDIT to pay for things, nor do you want to use credit therefore you do not need a credit score and so TAKE THE MILLION $$! Derp!
I’m going completely off topic but, how do you get an image in the profile picture?
I think you’ve figured it out now since I see a pic of you here, but for any others reading this all you need to do is go to Gravatar.com and you can then attach any pics to any emails of yours which will then carry over whenever you leave comments around the web (or at least on WP blogs). Pretty cool!
Just being graduate from a good school is plus. And, I think experience and skills can set you apart from the rest and give you an edge. I know so many people who do not come from school belonging to ivy league, but they are now working with people from those ivy league schools. It’s really about dedication and skills.
To everyone that would rather have 1 million and a bad credit score – go borrow a million and you’ll most likely have what you said – a million and a bad credit score.
Are you sure?
(Always remember that 76% of statistics are made up on the spot – including that one.)
Hey all….as a manager of an office and the hiring authority, I cannot tell you of how many times I have passed up a highly educated but totally-lacking common sense applicant who wants to start out at 50K per year because they have student debt. Super tragic. I am looking for someone that cares about the public and our clients, knows who they are, is motivated and wants to make a difference instead of having entitlement issues. Incredibly enough, I find that a lot of my scholastic achievers use up all their leave as soon as they earn it and am now convinced that a person’s leave balance is a great predictor of their credit score….why? Because it comes down to immediate gratification and the kiss of death for those who have any available credit. Seems like they have to use it NOW. For the record, I rarely use credit anymore and don’t care about my credit score because a great credit score means I am a properly trained generator of interest….
Interesting insight :)
And I hear ya on the credit score stuff… I pay attention, but don’t go out of my way to improve it or anything unless a large purchase like a house is on its way as unfortunately creditors still care about it :(