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How Different Age Groups View the Trade-Off Between Time and Money

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This Chart Shows Google's True Dominance on the Web

The Trade-Off Between Time and Money

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Every individual person has their own unique set of values when it comes to how they approach their lifestyle and career.

Generally speaking, however, most people have a viewpoint on the inherent trade-off between time and money, as well as whether these precious resources should be used to seek out experiences or buy possessions.

Today’s chart uses data from a global survey of 22,000 internet users in 17 different countries by GfK Global, which gave people the option to choose whether they valued:

  1. Time vs. Money
  2. Experiences vs. Possessions

We’ll first look at the U.S. data with a focus on generational differences, and then we’ll present the international data on how this trade-off between time and money manifests itself between countries.

Generational Differences

Judging by age alone, one might guess that younger generations would prefer to “take the money and run”. After all, millennials are often stereotyped as a cash-strapped generation.

Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to be the case at all, at least according to U.S. data:

Age GroupTime > Money (% agree)Experiences > Possessions (% agree)
15-19 years24%46%
20-29 years38%59%
30-39 years38%57%
40-49 years27%53%
50-59 years26%47%
60+ years20%52%

When it comes to time and money, 38% of both the 20-29 year and 30-39 year ranges prefer to choose time over money. This is a significantly higher portion than those of other age groups. Surprisingly, only 20% of people in the 60+ group clearly had a preference for time over money.

As for experiences and possessions, it was a similar case, with the 20-29 year and 30-39 year groups having the highest preference for experiences. This is not surprising, and it’s a widely known millennial attribute to seek powerful experiences like travel, music festivals, sports, and live events over buying new material possessions such as furniture or a new car.

International Differences

How do people from different countries approach the same survey questions?

Time and money by country

The international chart reveals some interesting differences about the perceived value of time and money.

One very stark one lies between two Asian nations in close proximity. Folks surveyed from China had the highest preference for time over money (41% agreeing), while across the East China Sea, in Japan, the results show the lowest preference for time over money (11% agreeing).

Another interesting cultural difference: countries in Latin America tend to see experiences as far more important than the rest of the globe. Mexico (57%), Argentina (53%), and Brazil (49%) all were well above the global average of 44% for choosing experiences over possessions.

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Visualizing $97 Trillion of Global Debt in 2023

Global debt has soared since the pandemic. Which countries have the biggest stockpile of debt outstanding in 2023?

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Visualizing $97 Trillion of Government Debt in 2023

Global government debt is projected to hit $97.1 trillion this year, a 40% increase since 2019.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments introduced sweeping financial measures to support the job market and prevent a wave of bankruptcies. However, this has exposed vulnerabilities as higher interest rates are amplifying borrowing costs.

This graphic shows global debt by country in 2023, based on projections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Debt by Country in 2023

Below, we rank countries by their general government gross debt, or the financial liabilities owed by each country:

CountryGross Debt (B)% of World TotalDebt to GDP
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.$33,228.934.2%123.3%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China$14,691.715.1%83.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan$10,797.211.1%255.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง UK$3,468.73.6%104.1%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France$3,353.93.5%110.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy$3,141.43.2%143.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India$3,056.73.1%81.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany$2,919.33.0%65.9%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada$2,253.32.3%106.4%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil$1,873.71.9%88.1%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain$1,697.51.7%107.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mexico$954.61.0%52.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea$928.11.0%54.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia$875.90.9%51.9%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore$835.00.9%167.9%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium$665.20.7%106.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina$556.50.6%89.5%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia$552.80.6%39.0%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands$540.90.6%49.5%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland$419.40.4%49.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท Greece$407.20.4%168.0%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Tรผrkiye$397.20.4%34.4%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia$394.80.4%21.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น Austria$393.60.4%74.8%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Egypt$369.30.4%92.7%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland$357.70.4%39.5%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand$314.50.3%61.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Israel$303.60.3%58.2%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Portugal$299.40.3%108.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ Malaysia$288.30.3%66.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa$280.70.3%73.7%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ Pakistan$260.90.3%76.6%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Saudi Arabia$257.70.3%24.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland$251.70.3%42.7%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ Philippines$250.90.3%57.6%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland$225.00.2%73.6%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway$204.50.2%37.4%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด Colombia$200.10.2%55.0%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan$200.00.2%26.6%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden$192.90.2%32.3%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด Romania$178.70.2%51.0%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฉ Bangladesh$175.90.2%39.4%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ukraine$152.80.2%88.1%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic$152.20.2%45.4%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Nigeria$151.30.2%38.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช UAE$149.70.2%29.4%
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam$147.30.2%34.0%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ Hungary$140.00.1%68.7%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Chile$132.20.1%38.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark$126.70.1%30.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ถ Iraq$125.50.1%49.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Algeria$123.50.1%55.1%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand$115.00.1%46.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท Iran$112.10.1%30.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Morocco$102.70.1%69.7%
๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Qatar$97.50.1%41.4%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช Peru$89.70.1%33.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ด Angola$79.60.1%84.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ช Kenya$79.10.1%70.2%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Slovakia$75.40.1%56.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ด Dominican Republic$72.10.1%59.8%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ Ecuador$65.90.1%55.5%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Sudan$65.50.1%256.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ญ Ghana$65.10.1%84.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Kazakhstan$60.70.1%23.4%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡น Ethiopia$59.00.1%37.9%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ญ Bahrain$54.50.1%121.2%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท Costa Rica$53.90.1%63.0%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท Croatia$51.20.1%63.8%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡พ Uruguay$47.00.0%61.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด Jordan$46.90.0%93.8%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Slovenia$46.80.0%68.5%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Cรดte d'Ivoire$45.10.0%56.8%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฆ Panama$43.50.0%52.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Myanmar$43.00.0%57.5%
๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ฒ Oman$41.40.0%38.2%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ณ Tunisia$39.90.0%77.8%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ Serbia$38.50.0%51.3%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ด Bolivia$37.80.0%80.8%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฟ Tanzania$35.80.0%42.6%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Uzbekistan$31.70.0%35.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ Zimbabwe$30.90.0%95.4%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ Belarus$30.40.0%44.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡น Guatemala$29.10.0%28.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡น Lithuania$28.70.0%36.1%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ป El Salvador$25.80.0%73.0%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Uganda$25.30.0%48.3%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ณ Senegal$25.20.0%81.0%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ Cyprus$25.20.0%78.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ Luxembourg$24.60.0%27.6%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong Kong SAR$23.50.0%6.1%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ Bulgaria$21.70.0%21.0%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Cameroon$20.60.0%41.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Mozambique$19.70.0%89.7%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ท Puerto Rico$19.60.0%16.7%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต Nepal$19.30.0%46.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป Latvia$18.90.0%40.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iceland$18.70.0%61.2%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡พ Paraguay$18.10.0%40.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Lao P.D.R.$17.30.0%121.7%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ณ Honduras$15.70.0%46.3%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฌ Papua New Guinea$15.70.0%49.5%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡น Trinidad and Tobago$14.60.0%52.5%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Albania$14.50.0%62.9%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Republic of Congo$14.10.0%97.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Azerbaijan$14.10.0%18.2%
๐Ÿ‡พ๐Ÿ‡ช Yemen$14.00.0%66.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Jamaica$13.60.0%72.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ณ Mongolia$13.10.0%69.9%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ซ Burkina Faso$12.70.0%61.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Gabon$12.50.0%64.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ช Georgia$11.90.0%39.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡บ Mauritius$11.80.0%79.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Armenia$11.80.0%47.9%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ธ Bahamas$11.70.0%84.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Mali$11.00.0%51.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Malta$11.00.0%54.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia$10.90.0%35.3%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฏ Benin$10.60.0%53.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ผ Malawi$10.40.0%78.6%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช Estonia$9.00.0%21.6%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Democratic Republic of Congo$9.00.0%13.3%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ผ Rwanda$8.80.0%63.3%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Namibia$8.50.0%67.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Madagascar$8.50.0%54.0%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ช Niger$8.30.0%48.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฐ North Macedonia$8.20.0%51.6%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ Bosnia and Herzegovina$7.70.0%28.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ป Maldives$7.70.0%110.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ณ Guinea$7.30.0%31.6%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Nicaragua$7.20.0%41.5%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ง Barbados$7.20.0%115.0%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฌ Togo$6.10.0%67.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Kyrgyz Republic$6.00.0%47.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Moldova$5.60.0%35.1%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฉ Chad$5.40.0%43.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ผ Kuwait$5.40.0%3.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท Mauritania$5.10.0%49.5%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡น Haiti$5.10.0%19.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡พ Guyana$4.90.0%29.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช Montenegro$4.60.0%65.8%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ Fiji$4.60.0%83.6%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฒ Turkmenistan$4.20.0%5.1%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฏ Tajikistan$4.00.0%33.5%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ผ Botswana$3.90.0%18.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ถ Equatorial Guinea$3.80.0%38.3%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ท Suriname$3.80.0%107.0%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ธ South Sudan$3.80.0%60.4%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡น Bhutan$3.30.0%123.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ผ Aruba$3.20.0%82.9%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Sierra Leone$3.10.0%88.9%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ป Cabo Verde$2.90.0%113.1%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฎ Burundi$2.30.0%72.7%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท Liberia$2.30.0%52.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฝ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Kosovo$2.20.0%21.3%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Eswatini$2.00.0%42.4%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฟ Belize$1.90.0%59.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡จ Saint Lucia$1.80.0%74.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Gambia$1.70.0%72.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฏ Djibouti$1.60.0%41.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Antigua and Barbuda$1.60.0%80.5%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฒ San Marino$1.50.0%74.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ผ Guinea-Bissau$1.50.0%73.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ธ Lesotho$1.50.0%61.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Andorra$1.40.0%37.7%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ซ Central African Republic$1.40.0%50.1%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡จ Seychelles$1.30.0%60.8%
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡จ Saint Vincent and the Grenadines$0.90.0%86.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Grenada$0.80.0%60.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Dominica$0.70.0%93.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ณ Saint Kitts and Nevis$0.60.0%53.2%
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡บ Vanuatu$0.50.0%46.8%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Comoros$0.50.0%33.3%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡น Sรฃo Tomรฉ and Prรญncipe$0.40.0%58.5%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ง Solomon Islands$0.40.0%22.2%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ณ Brunei Darussalam$0.30.0%2.3%
๐Ÿ‡ผ๐Ÿ‡ธ Samoa$0.30.0%36.2%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฑ Timor-Leste$0.30.0%16.4%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ผ Palau$0.20.0%85.4%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ด Tonga$0.20.0%41.1%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Micronesia$0.10.0%12.5%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ญ Marshall Islands$0.10.0%18.1%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ท Nauru<$0.10.0%29.1%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Kiribati<$0.10.0%13.1%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ป Tuvalu<$0.10.0%8.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ด Macao SAR<$0.10.0%0.0%
๐ŸŒ World$97,129.8100%93.0%

With $33.2 trillion in government debt, the U.S. makes up over a third of the world total.

Given the increasing debt load, the cost of servicing this debt now accounts for 20% of government spending. It is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2028, surpassing the total spent on defense.

The worldโ€™s third-biggest economy, Japan, has one of the highest debt to GDP ratios, at 255%. Over the last two decades, its national debt has far exceeded 100% of its GDP, driven by an aging population and social security expenses.

In 2023, Egypt faces steep borrowing costs, with 40% of revenues going towards debt repayments. It has the highest debt on the continent.

Like Egypt, several emerging economies are facing strain. Lebanon has been in default since 2020, and Ghana defaulted on the majority of its external debtโ€”debt owed to foreign lendersโ€”in 2022 amid a deepening economic crisis.

Global Debt: A Regional Perspective

How does debt compare on a regional level in 2023?

RegionGross Debt (B)% of World TotalDebt to GDP
North America$36,451.837.5%117.6%
Asia and Pacific$34,257.435.3%92.5%
Europe$20,123.420.7%79.1%
South America$3,164.93.3%77.2%
Africa $1,863.61.9%65.2%
Other/Rest of World$1,269.11.3%31.4%

We can see that North America has both the highest debt and debt to GDP compared to other regions. Just as U.S. debt has ballooned, so has Canadaโ€™sโ€”ranking as the 10th-highest globally in government debt outstanding.

Across Asia and the Pacific, debt levels hover close to North America.

At 3.3% of the global total, South America has $3.2 trillion in debt. As inflation has trended downwards, a handful of governments have already begun cutting interest rates. Overall, public debt levels are projected to stay elevated across the region.

Debt levels have also risen rapidly in Africa, with an average 40% of public debt held in foreign currenciesโ€”leaving it exposed to exchange rate fluctuations. Another challenge is that interest rates are also higher across the region compared to advanced economies, increasing debt-servicing costs.

By 2028, the IMF projects that global public debt will exceed 100% of GDP, hitting levels only seen during the pandemic.

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