Make America “IOU” Free Again!

That was the subject line of a PR email I just got. Which of course I had to click and then copy as my own subject line because how could you not??

It came from the folks at – a mobile app that’s trying to change how people pay each other around the world (you can send money internationally for free!), and within the email came a few juicy nuggets I thought we’d marinate on today. Because after all, who doesn’t love stats? Or comparing ourselves to each other? ;)

I also found some others hidden in my inbox, though not nearly as eye-catching headline-wise:

“Data on Election and Retirement”

“Love and Money – over 1,000 Americans surveyed”

“Top Stressors for Back to School Shopping”

We’ll start with the Circle email…

  • One third of adults in the U.S. are owed on average $450 from friends. Fascinating! Are you owed anything from anyone right now?? I’m not, outside of some business invoices, but there have been plenty of times when I have been owed after lending friends $100 or $400, or even $5,000 once (which I’ll never do again – too risky!) People will say it’s better to “gift” the money than to lend it, which I’d agree, but of course much harder to do than say. Especially depending on your current finances. Still, I’ve never heard a dollar amount placed on IOUs like that – kinda neat.
  • The average Millennial (ages 18-34) will have voluntarily spent between $5,250 and $7,010 on a close friend for major holidays and life events. It doesn’t state over what period that is, but if we’re talking about lifetime then yeah – probably, but if we’re talking a year or two then no way! I know we said our friends are worth $100,000 last week, but that’s pushing it ;)

They then listed a handful of apps “to help end the National Friends Deficit and make America IOU-Free again” – haha… Which included the Circle app of course, as well as Mint, Find my iPhone / Where’s my Droid, and Wally – which is apparently the “ultimate way to track your expenses.” Anyone use any of these before? You like?

Then here are some stats from a recent report by

  • Millennials feel more secure about their retirement (20 percent) versus those aged 35-54 (12 percent). I didn’t think this was too interesting at first, but then the more I thought about it, it was. Younger people should feel LESS secure since they haven’t had as much time under their belts to start growing their wealth! So either they’re just super optimistic, or all those surveys showing they’re living off/needing much less these days are more accurate than they seem :) Though 20% secure is still WAY off of 100% and still not good. Nor 12% especially if you’re in the next age bracket up – yikes!
  • Younger people see education as a priority issue this election (31 percent), behind terrorism (43 percent) but ahead of the economy (28 percent), with only 7 percent listing retirement savings as a top issue. Haven’t thought about how I prioritize election issues, but I tend to focus on things within our immediate control vs broader ones, so of course anything financial/retirement related would probably find itself at the top of my list. After safety of course.
  • Total Millennials feel ‘very unfavorable’ toward Trump (57 percent) and are ‘more worried’ about retirement savings if he is elected (49 percent). I hesitate to leave this one in here for obvious reasons, haha, but it is kinda interesting, no? Though it would be much more juicier if the numbers were farther away than a roughly 50/50 split – hah.

Now we go to a study that just dropped yesterday by on relationships and money across differing age groups:

  • 51% of respondents have had disputes with their partner over money — No shock there.
  • 26% have lied to their partner about their spending — Ack! Horrible! This is the stuff that compounds over the years – and not in the GOOD way!
  • 60% of men earn more than their partner — Also no shock, unfortunately.
  • 6% say the current presidential election is negatively impacting their love life — Haha, what??? How can any % negatively affect someone’s love life? Unless they’re dating/married to someone who opposes your views I guess? Or maybe they’re too distraught over any of the candidates and thus can’t perform? ;) Either way, I want no part of Hillary -or- Donald in my bedroom at any point now or going forward, haha…
  • 26% of gay and bisexual respondents have had relationships end over money compared to 14% of heterosexuals — Ooh, very interesting! I wonder why the percentage is that much higher? *Paging Taylor, Debt Free Guys, ZJ*

This reminds me of a post we did here once on hiding money stuff from your significant other, and how bad it can be for not only your relationship, but also your health. The lady in the article was hiding $18,000 from her husband and was about to explode with guilt! Right before having a baby, too – yikes.

We actually just got a new comment on it even though the post is almost three years old:

“Would u stay if happens again n again n bigger n bigger. 7 years down n now thinking of an exit from the marriage. Of course he says it wont happen again.”

So sad… I’d like to think that I’d do whatever it takes to get stuff fixed and put love first, but man – who knows how that affects you on a daily basis? It’s not so much the money part itself that would kill me, it’s all the LYING and then repeated broken promises over time. Trust is major when it comes to relationships! Can’t be messing around with that!

Here’s some last stats from a recent survey I thought was funny just because it’s SO TRUE! And which you certainly didn’t need a survey to figure out.

Top lines parents hate to hear the most:

  • “I have to have it – literally everyone has one.” – 49%
  • “I promise I won’t ask for anything else.” – 45%

Haha… How many times have YOU said that over your lifetime? ;) How many times lately?? (Better not be raising your hand over there! I’m watching you!!!)

Phrases kids hate to hear the most:

  • “We can’t afford that one. Let’s get this one instead.” – 50%
  • “Don’t you already have one of those?” – 44%
  • “You don’t have an unlimited budget. Spend it wisely.” – 24%

Oh come on! That’s just great money management skills right there! Pshh….

So yeah – in a nutshell, all these stats pretty much points to one main thing: You can’t escape money no matter how old you are!

Best to start taking control of it NOW so it becomes much easier as time ticks on. And the beautiful part is you don’t have to wait and see who becomes president next! We’re the only ones who can change our lives for the better, so get fired up and ready to go!

(Fired up? Ready to go! Fired up, Ready to go! ;))

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  1. AMW August 10, 2016 at 6:38 AM

    I think maybe one of the reasons Millennials feel more secure about their retirement is because it seems so far off in the distance that they believe they have plenty of time to beef it up whenever they want. I think that statistic is just a product of age. They may be panicking in another 20 years!

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 9:50 AM

      True, true…

  2. Miss Mazuma August 10, 2016 at 6:51 AM

    Great stats! I’ve only lent money to a friend once and she returned it on payday. She was a major check floater and something went array in her calculations. ;) I recently wrote a post about the same friend and how I made her cry over a conversation about her financial lifestyle! Poor thing…the truth hurts sometimes!

    Though I no longer lend friends money (I’ll lend a hand instead), I like the idea of mixing the Find a Friend app with an IOU. If i give you money, I have the right to track your every move until it’s paid back. That way I know you haven’t gone to the strips club or casino to blow it all! I’m sure those debts would be paid back quickly!

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 9:52 AM

      Hah! That rule alone would get me to figure out my money fast so I didn’t have anyone looking over my shoulder!

  3. Roy Largo @ Band of Savers August 10, 2016 at 7:07 AM

    My wife is always getting onto me if I try to make comparisons to someone else, saying “We don’t make comparisons in our family.” because she is worried about what it might teach the kids, sometimes you just have to bite your tongue and say “Yes Dear”. But I think that when we are doing good we need the boost that comes from seeing stats like these and seeing that we are doing awesome compared to our peers. And if we see the stats and learn that we suck compared to everyone else then that might be the kick in the pants that we needed to get up and do something about it.

    Don’t know that I’ve ever lent money to a friend, or anyone that I can think of. I’m way to tight fisted for that.

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 9:54 AM

      Yeah, comparing can go both ways depending on what you’re comparing to :) I love #’s and usually get motivated by that stuff so I don’t mind comparing my own situation there – even to those just crushing it! – but when it comes to everyday life stuff it frustrates me so I stay away from Facebook and Instagram and all that which constantly spew vacation pics and everything sexy not going on in my life, so that helps me keep my sanity :)

  4. Preston @TheDrunkMillionaire August 10, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    Man, we get stressed out about the election but it is good to remember that life goes on despite who’s elected and you really only have control over your own life and decisions.

    I need to try out this Wally app, never heard of it. I do like Mint though! As a millennial, I’m not worried about retirement either.. but maybe that’s because I’m a personal finance nerd.

  5. Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions August 10, 2016 at 7:19 AM

    When I got to the things we tell our kids – “We can’t afford that one. Let’s get this one instead” – this is definitely something I always said. After years of reading PF blogs, I have tried to change the line to “If you want that one, let’s figure out a way to earn the difference.” My son doesn’t want much but when he does, he knows the quality he wants (and usually it is a smart buy because it does what he wants and will last). He is also more willing to do a little extra work to earn the difference between “this one instead” and the one he wants! A bonus for me :) As for lending money to friends? Better to gift I think if you want to stay friends…

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 9:57 AM

      Beautiful idea!! I’m going to steal that from you, actually!

      Reminds me of the idea of turning :I can’t afford that” to “I don’t want to afford that” which is much more empowering. Most of the stuff we actually CAN afford, we just choose not to because it doesn’t fit in with our goals our life at the time. Big fancy stuff excluded, of course.

      I know for a while I used to get annoyed anytime I heard “I can’t afford that” from friends and family, even though I was proud of them for saying it out loud. I always thought it sounded so powerless, so tried getting

  6. The Green Swan August 10, 2016 at 7:24 AM

    I think the fact millennials feel more secure about retirement than the next age group up (Gen X) says more about them than millennials. Gen X better start getting their S*** together!

  7. Mr. PIE August 10, 2016 at 7:54 AM

    Arguing about money reminds me of the joke about Scottish people and their frugal, thrifty habits:

    Copper wire – supposedly discovered after two Scots were separated after fighting over a penny.

    Oh, and I am Scottish. We are NOT tight with our money. In fact we are very generous, especially in pubs……that’s a good thing right…..?

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 9:58 AM

      Haha, I’ll remember that if we’re ever out drinking together!

  8. Matt @ Optimize Your Life August 10, 2016 at 7:59 AM

    “Millennials feel more secure about their retirement (20 percent) versus those aged 35-54 (12 percent).” This seemed surprising to me at first, as well, until I saw how low the number was for the 35-54 crew. Yikes!

    “60% of men earn more than their partner.” I would be really curious to see how this number has changed over time.

    1. Roy Largo @ Band of Savers August 10, 2016 at 8:43 AM

      I’m sure that there are several factors going into it but I assumed that the Millennials feel more confident about their retirement situations because they think they still have time on their side but probably are not in any better of a circumstance than the older age group was at their age (by and large). It’s just that those in the older age group are getting closer to retirement and have started noticing that they should have been doing more in their 20’s and feel like they can’t catch up now.

  9. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor August 10, 2016 at 8:01 AM

    I had no idea Americans owed their friends so much money! (And are owed.) My friend and I regularly run errands for each other while we’re out, and probably pass the same $5 back and forth. We could just call it even, but I hate owing people money!

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 10:01 AM

      Yeah, anything $10 and under I don’t sweat at all anymore. I used to be all on my friends if they needed to pay me back for a lunch or beer or whatever, but now that I’ve got my finances in order and see “the big picture” I always just consider it a nice thing to do for people now without needing anything in return. I think it changes as you get older too and aren’t as selfish as a young lad ;)

  10. Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies August 10, 2016 at 8:29 AM

    Excellent reminder that money is a tool that we are usually largely in control of. I think I have a friend who I spent that much on picking up her bar bill when I first got a real job ;) But, seriously.

  11. Prudence Debtfree August 10, 2016 at 8:36 AM

    Really surprised that people’s love lives are being impacted by the election! My husband and I often vote differently from one another (in Canada). But then, considering your candidates this time around, I can see why “We vote differently from one another” could lead to strife. (Ay caramba! The world is definitely watching.)
    I think we’re on the cusp of a major financial wake-up, and since younger people have more time to right their financial wrongs, it makes some sense that they’re more confident than gen-X & boomers about retirement. We have less time to fix things up. (But we CAN! I’m proof : )

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 10:01 AM

      Yeah you are!!! Always so proud of you too!!

  12. Apathy Ends August 10, 2016 at 8:41 AM

    I am with The Green Swan above, while Millenials might be naive, the Gen X should know they are on track and be confident!

    I must say, there is a huge trend in not having vehicles or lots of material possessions going on in Minneapolis, the amount of people that bike to work astonishes me! So maybe Millennials are on to something when it comes to spending.

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 10:03 AM

      Yes! Loving that about the younger gen for sure. Not wanting/needing so much is def. a better thing! In more areas than just finance too.

  13. Pete August 10, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    I think the reason Millennials are more confident in retirement is because since the beginning they have been told they won’t be able to rely on Social Security. I personally am not planning to rely on a dime of it when the time comes and nobody should, you’re a better planner than that. The older you get the less self reliant the generation and the more dependent on the younger generations they become (through SS or direct financial support from children) which to me is ironic since not too long ago we were considered “Dependents” of theirs on their tax forms ;)

    But truly the older generations were told to work long and hard and your retirement will be taken care of, now their are in a panic because they spent it all and they aren’t getting as much as they thought they would or think they “deserve.” I’m 27 now and will retire by 40 without any sort of issues, no major financial tricks, or high paying job. It’s just basic math and common sense and effective use of time.

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 10:04 AM

      Agreed! I’m not counting on a single penny either and will just take it as a nice surprise IF it ever does come to fruition. Definitely a huge change in mindset for sure – good call.

  14. ShaeLynn August 10, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    The Trump retirement statistic is a 50-50 split between people who will feel less secure and people who won’t. That includes people who feel more, feel the same, or don’t know. So it seems pretty significant to me.

    I don’t typically lend money to friends, but I have fairly frugally minded friends :)

  15. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe August 10, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    I hear “I promise I won’t ask for anything else” at least on a weekly basis. Of course, my daughter hears “I’ll think about it,” just as often, which she says means “No.”
    I don’t know why she’d have such a cynical outlook…

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 10:04 AM


  16. Ms. Montana August 10, 2016 at 10:39 AM

    I once had a friend buy me a hot tub. That was about 5k. 9 years later and I still have it. Although after we finish building our 2nd bath, that might change. =)
    ( a side note, we had an intern staying at our house this summer, then our friends (5 people) came to visit. 13 people all together and 1 bathroom! I was really wishing that 2nd bath was done already!)

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 3:41 PM

      Woahhhh why did your friend buy you a hot tub?

  17. Harmony August 10, 2016 at 11:24 AM

    Our six year old wants “all the things.” He was so much better before he started school. Since then, his friends have taught him things like how every family is supposed to have at least one iPad . . smh

  18. Beth August 10, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    I am so part of the 6% that say the current presidential election is negatively impacting their love life!

    How? My husband must read all the blogs and correct the people on the internet who are wrong and feels he alone is responsible for educating them. When does that happen? Yeah….

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 3:45 PM

      Oh wow – that would do it! If there’s one thing I’ve learned by now, it’s that no one is actively out there *looking* to have their minds changed, haha….

  19. Kate @ itsakatelife August 10, 2016 at 12:52 PM

    How is “Money doesn’t grow on trees” not on the list of phrases that kids hate to hear? Have parents stopped saying that? That’s the one I remember growing up.

    I must have the right friends because none of them have ever asked me for money. I did give a substantial cash birthday gift to a friend since I knew that her family was having financial problems, but she never would have asked for help.

    I wonder how many Millennials are weighed down by kids, a house, etc. whereas most Gen Xers have huge obligations. Gen Xers (myself included) are also in the “sandwich generation” where we’re caring for both our kids and our parents. While I don’t have kids, I have started doing more for my parents, who are in their 70s. I would guess that the perspective of Millennials will change in another 10-15 years.

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 3:47 PM

      Def. true there indeed!

      I’m wondering about the “money trees” too as I haven’t heard it in forever myself (thank goodness! Haha…)

  20. Dollar Engineer August 10, 2016 at 2:10 PM

    Some pretty interesting numbers here J$! Going back to the beginning of the post regarding owing people money, I and many of my friends use Venmo. It links to your bank account and you can send and receive money really easily. Considering many people are carrying cash less now, the app makes it so easy to split restaurant bills, gifts, etc.

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 3:48 PM

      Nice! I keep hearing about Venmo lately… Would have come in handy years ago in college!

  21. Paul August 10, 2016 at 2:45 PM

    so your quote: “60% of men earn more than their partner — Also no shock, unfortunately.”

    You think the % of men earning more should be higher?

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 3:52 PM

      I think it should be more equal.

      1. Paul August 10, 2016 at 4:30 PM

        I was joking, although I guess I didn’t do a good job of conveying that electronically.

  22. Linda @ Brooklyn Bread August 10, 2016 at 3:03 PM

    My kids are my biggest money weakness. But I had such a moment of divinity recently in a store… my kid asked for something stupid and I just blurted out, “if you still want it tomorrow, we can discuss.” It was incredible! He was like “ok!” Guy next to me said “I am totally using that next time.” Not surprisingly, he did not raise the topic for discussion the next day. Score!

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 3:52 PM

      Haha – nice work!

  23. Hannah August 10, 2016 at 4:04 PM

    Damn parents, always trying to teach their kids about responsible financial behavior. I guess the only one that is a little surprising is, “We can’t afford that.”

    I think my mom always said something more like, “You’re going to feel like an idiot if you spend your entire back to school budget on one pair of jeans.” (I admit, I did it anyways, and had to pony up for a TI-83 a few weeks later.)

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 4:47 PM

      Ti-83s!!! I remember those!

      Actually, I only remember TI-82s – which means I’m probably older than you :)

  24. Taylor August 10, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    Answering my page! haha. These kind of stats are always so interesting to me. I basically love anything that allows me an inside look at other people’s brains ;)

    I’m wondering if it’s because gay men are generally paid less than their straight co-workers. Gay women typically earn more than straight women, but still less than men and don’t benefit from any male earning privilege in their relationship. ( So maybe money is tighter? I wish I knew the answer, but sending good vibes to any couple, gay or straight, who is fighting over money :(

    1. J. Money August 10, 2016 at 4:52 PM

      Heyo! Thanks for jumping in! I didn’t know any of those stats you just dropped which is all super fascinating. Thanks T!

  25. Gary @ Super Saving Tips August 10, 2016 at 5:12 PM

    It’s surprising to me that one third of US adults are owed on average $450 from their friends. I wouldn’t feel comfortable borrowing much more than $30 without paying it back right away (like a “forgot my wallet” type day), and while I’ve loaned money out to friends in need, it’s been a rare occurrence. Maybe I just have super financially responsible friends.

  26. Joe August 11, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    It surprised me too. I don’t owe or lend any money to friends. I guess we are all doing well financially so we don’t need to lean on each other that much. I prefer to gift if they really need it.
    I agree with you about the Millenial data. They don’t worry about it much because they are too busy having fun.

  27. EL August 11, 2016 at 9:43 AM

    Hey so far not owed anything. I do owe my parents as they raised me so many years, and that can never be fully paid back, thanks MnD. Stats are fun to read, and it helps people feel good or bad depending on where you fall on the stat line. Good luck PF readers.

    1. J. Money August 18, 2016 at 10:20 AM

      Amen to that! We owe our lives to them – literally!

  28. Avery Breyer August 11, 2016 at 1:25 PM

    Ack! Lying to one’s partner about spending is so bad – it’s a recipe for disaster, fights, unhappiness… how depressing!

    Hmmm, on the bright side, at least 74% haven’t lied to their partners about their spending, right?

    re: Millennials feel more secure about their retirement (20 percent) versus those aged 35-54 (12 percent

    I wonder if this is because retirement seems soooo far away to Millennials, and this makes them feel like they have plenty of time to save up compared to the older age group.

  29. Free to Pursue August 11, 2016 at 3:00 PM

    “It’s not so much the money part itself that would kill me, it’s all the LYING and then repeated broken promises over time.”

    Absolutely! And that goes for any vice. It’s so much more damaging when a partner finds out by accident too. Better fess up and deal with it when it’s a molehill and not a mountain…

    And unfortunately, the guilt and the shame can lead to the person who did wrong to make some pretty awful decisions for their life and for that of others that can have dire and permanent consequences. The movie “Maxed Out” is a good reminder of that.

    1. J. Money August 18, 2016 at 10:23 AM

      Yeah – finding out through someone else or even by accident is the worst :(

  30. ZJ Thorne August 19, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    I somehow missed the page! I’m not shocked that more LGBT folks have ended a relationship over money. Our community, as a whole, is more economically insecure. We are more likely to be un/underemployed. There is also a lot of substance abuse in segments of our community that leads to even bigger money issues. My girlfriend’s uncle was in town recently and was so surprised at the number of AA/NA meetings that were focused on the LGBT community. We explained to him why that was; he found places he felt welcome, but had not realized that the LGBT community was such a big part of the AA/NA community. This is partially from the number of LGBT teenagers who are kicked out of their homes for their sexuality and gender identity and also from the untreated mental suffering inflicted by some dangerous homophobia.

    1. J. Money August 22, 2016 at 10:57 AM

      Oh man, I can’t even imagine :( Really appreciate you stopping by and sharing – most of us have no idea about this stuff.

  31. Debbie January 8, 2018 at 5:14 AM

    WOE is me. This old post struck a bad nerve. OUCH!
    1) loaned family member $1000. She paid back $100.
    2) loaned old boyfriend $1000. He paid back na dah.
    3) loaned co-worker $50. She quit & moved. Paid back na dah.
    4) loaned friend $300. She paid back $50.
    Friend was going to pay back $50 a month. After 6 months I emailed asking the status. I finally received a check for $50 with a note somehow blaming me saying “here’s $50. Our grocery $$. Now we don’t eat this week”. I never emailed/heard from her again. 10 year friendship gone.
    Hubby’s best friend asked to borrow $8000 last year. Hubby told him “friends and $$ don’t mix”. He knew we were flush with cash as we’d just sold our home & were temporarily renting. He sold his motorcycle for $5000 & moved overseas!
    No more wallet WOES for me. For now on, only wallet WOAH’S! Better to gift the $$ unless you get a promissory note & even then some don’t pay back what they borrowed. When they ask what’s in your wallet, I tell them “dust”.
    Thanx for the archives. A lot of interesting old posts.

    1. J. Money January 8, 2018 at 2:14 PM

      You know it!!

      I’m gonna have to steal that – “No more wallet WOES for me. For now on, only wallet WOAH’S”