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Personal Finance Reports

Do Millennials Really Spend More on Coffee Than What They Save For Retirement?

“Those darn millennials! Spending too much on avocado toast and not saving enough for retirement.”

You’ve heard this anti-millennial notion before, but is it really true?

Is this generation actually bad at saving for retirement? Do they spend too much on frivolous things and save too little in their retirement nest eggs?

LendEDU put the narrative to the test by surveying 1,000 American millennials to gauge not only their typical retirement saving habits, but also their spending habits on things like coffee, Netflix, and new clothes.

Here’s what we found…

On Average, Millennials Save $480 Per Month For Retirement

$480 per month going towards retirement savings? Not bad millennials, round of applause for you.

Here’s how that monthly savings figure stacked up to what millennials are spending on certain things each month…

Millennials are saving a fantastic $480 per month for retirement, and none of their monthly expenditures for things like coffee exceed what they are saving month-to-month.

So, why the bad rap? Is $36 per month on coffee or $49 on social events like a sports game really going to crush them decades later when it’s time to kick their feet up?

What Proportion of Millennials Spend More on Certain Things Than What They Save For Retirement?

Since we had each millennial respondent’s specific monthly spending amount for things like Netflix or gym fees, we were able to find out what percentage of millennials were spending more on certain things than what they were saving for retirement.

For example, if millennial respondent #1 spends $50 on coffee each month but only saves $35 for retirement, he or she was counted towards the percentage that spends more on coffee than what is saved for retirement.

Here’s what those percentages looked like…

While these percentages don’t judge millennial retirement saving habits as favorably, it’s worth noting that the only monthly expense over 50% of millennials are spending more money on is groceries, a necessity.

Based on the data from this survey, millennials are doing just fine with when it comes to saving for retirement, so quit the retirement shaming!

$480 per month is a pretty great start for millennials, especially considering how compound interest can grow those contributions in just a few short years.

Also, it’s important to consider that younger millennials are most likely making around entry-level salaries. If one were to survey solely millennials ages 30 or higher, it is likely that they are saving closer to $1,000 per month in retirement.


All of the data found within this report derives from an online poll commissioned by LendEDU and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,000 millennial Americans between the ages of 22-37, the millennial age range at the time, were surveyed for this particular poll. The desired respondents were found using Pollfish’s age filtering feature. If respondents met the criteria, they were then selected randomly from Pollfish’s online user panel of over 100 million.

This survey was conducted over a two-day span, starting on July 12, 2018, and ending on July 13, 2018. Respondents were given the ability to enter “0” into a specific question if the expenditure was not something that exists in their monthly budgets. To find if respondents were spending more on one of the common expenses than they were saving for retirement, their unique results were lined up and the appropriate calculations were run from there. Respondents were asked to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of their ability. 

See more of LendEDU’s Research