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How Americans Make and Spend Their Money, by Age Group

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If you’re like most people, your income and spending changes significantly as you get older.

In the most common career trajectory, earlier years coincide with a lower salary as skills and experience grow. Then, peak earning years are achieved in late adulthood, and eventually retirement comes onto the horizon.

Is this typical earnings arc supported by data?

Income and Spending, by Age

The data visualizations in today’s post come to us from Engaging Data and they use Sankey diagrams to display data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing differences in how various age groups in America earn and spend their money.

The four charts below will show household data based on the age of the primary resident:

  1. Less than 25 years old (Very early career)
  2. Between 25-34 years old (Early career)
  3. Between 45-54 years old (Peak earning and spending)
  4. More than 75 years old (Retirement)
    1. Let’s take a look at the collection of data, to see how it shakes out.

      Less than 25 Years Old – $31,102 in spending (94.6%% of total income)

      These contain an average of 1.9 people (1.3 income earners, 0.3 children, and 0.0 seniors)
      Less than 25 Years Old

      For the average household with a primary resident under 25 years old, total income is $32,893.

      The biggest expense is housing (24.3% of spending), followed by vehicles (10.8%), gas and insurance (9.3%), food at home (7.7%), and dining out (7.6%). For this younger cohort, education is also a significant expense at $2,333 per year (7.5% of spending).

      Between 25-34 Years – $48,928 in spending (70.8% of total income)

      These contain an average of 2.8 people (1.5 income earners, 1.0 children, and 0.0 seniors)
      Between 25-34 Years Old

      In this age range, earning potential starts to rapidly expand with experience – and households make double that of the previous category (Under 25 years old).

      Housing remains the biggest expense (25.9% of spending), followed by gas and insurance (9.2%), household expenses (8.2%), food at home (8.1%), and then vehicles (8.1%).

      Between 45-54 Years – $64,781 in spending (64.6% of total income)

      These contain an average of 2.8 people (1.7 income earners, 0.7 children, and 0.1 seniors)
      Between 45-54 Years Old

      This age range is notable because it has both the highest income and the highest spending. It also represents a time of peak savings, with the average household stashing away $19,159 per year.

      Expenses are similar to the previous category. Housing is the biggest expense (22.0%), followed by gas and insurance (9.0%), food at home (7.9%), vehicles (7.9%), and household expenses (6.7%).

      Over 75 Years Old – $40,211 in spending (95.6% of total income)

      These contain an average of 2.6 people (0.2 income earners, 0.0 children, and 1.4 seniors)
      Over 75 Years Old

      Not surprisingly, here we see salary contributing just $7,891 per year to total income, with social security supplementing income with $25,057 per year.

      For this older segment, health insurance (8.2%) jumps up to become the second most important expense. Meanwhile, driving and housing both drop in their respective allocations.

      The Typical Earning Arc?

      The data confirms that conventional wisdom around the typical earning trajectory for Americans seems pretty accurate.

      For more breakdowns, check out how Americans spend their money based on income levels or education levels.

      Did you find any surprising anomalies in the numbers?

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Debt

Visualizing the Snowball of Government Debt

After an unprecedented borrowing spree in response to COVID-19, what does government debt look like around the world?

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Visualizing the Snowball of Government Debt in 2021

As we approach the second half of 2021, many countries around the world are beginning to relax their COVID-19 restrictions.

And while this signals a return to normalcy for much of the global economy, there’s one subject that’s likely to remain controversial: government debt.

To see how each country is faring in the aftermath of an unprecedented global borrowing spree, this graphic from HowMuch.net visualizes debt-to-GDP ratios using April 2021 data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ranking the Top 10 in Government Debt

Government debt is often analyzed through the debt-to-GDP metric because it contextualizes an otherwise massive number.

Take for example the U.S. national debt, which currently sits at over $27 trillion. In isolation this figure sounds daunting, but when expressed as a % of U.S. GDP, it works out to a more relatable 133%. This format also allows us to make a better comparison between countries, especially when their economies differ in size.

With that being said, here are the top 10 countries in terms of debt-to-GDP. For further context, we’ve included their 2019 and 2020 values as well.

Rank (2021)CountryDebt-to-GDP (2019)Debt-to-GDP (2020)Debt-to-GDP (April 2021)
#1🇯🇵 Japan235%256%257%
#2🇸🇩 Sudan200%262%212%
#3🇬🇷 Greece185%213%210%
#4🇪🇷 Eritrea189%185%176%
#5🇸🇷 Suriname93%166%157%
#6🇮🇹 Italy135%156%157%
#7🇧🇧 Barbados127%149%143%
#8🇲🇻 Maldives78%143%140%
#9🇨🇻 Cape Verde125%139%138%
#10🇧🇿 Belize98%127%135%

Source: IMF

Japan tops the list with a ratio of 257%, though this isn’t really a surprise—the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio first surpassed 100% in the 1990s, and in 2010, it became the first advanced economy to reach 200%.

Such significant debt burdens are the result of non-traditional monetary policies, many of which were first implemented by Japan, then adopted by others. In the late 1990s, for instance, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) set interest rates at 0% to counter deflation and promote economic growth.

This low cost of borrowing enables businesses and governments to accumulate debt much more freely, and has seen widespread use among other developed nations post-2008.

What are the Risks?

Given that a majority of countries in this visual are red (meaning their debt-to-GDP ratios are over 50%), it’s safe to say that government borrowing is common practice.

But are large government debts a cause for concern?

Some believe that excessive borrowing will lead to higher interest costs in the long run, which could detract from economic growth and public sector investment. This theory is unlikely to become a reality anytime soon, however.

A recent report by RBC Wealth Management reported that the cost of servicing U.S. federal debt actually decreased in 2020, thanks to the low borrowing costs mentioned previously.

Perhaps a more prescient question would be: how long can the world’s central banks keep interest rates at near-zero levels?

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Money

Ranked: The World’s 25 Richest Millennial Billionaires

There are over 2,700 billionaires in the world, but how many are millennials? This visual breaks down the richest millennial billionaires.

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Ranked: The World’s 25 Richest Millennial Billionaires

There are 2,755 billionaires globally—and combined, they are worth over $13 trillion.

Of these ultra wealthy individuals, just over 100 are millennials, born between the years 1981 and 1996. This young generation represents around 3.8% of all billionaires on a global basis with a combined net worth of $573.1 billion.

This visualization, using data from Forbes, ranks the richest 25 millennial billionaires and details their source of wealth, total net worth, nationality, and age.

Note: Forbes categorized billionaires by current age (2021). For those slightly over or under the age range of Millennials, meaning those who are currently 24 or 40 years old (i.e. they could have been born in either 1996/1997 or 1980/1981), if their birth year could not be accurately determined, they were left out of this ranking.

Who are the Millennial Billionaires?

The oldest millennials will be turning 40 in 2021, while the youngest are just turning 25. This means that millennial billionaires are generally the youngest billionaires in the world, save two Gen Zers: Wang Zelong of China, 24, and Kevin David Lehmann of Germany, 18.

NameAgeNet WorthCountryIndustry
Mark Zuckerberg36$97.0 BU.S.Tech
Zhang Yiming37$35.6 BChinaTech
Yang Huiyan & family39$29.6 BChinaReal Estate
Dustin Moskovitz36$17.8 BU.S.Tech
Su Hua39$17.8 BChinaMedia & Entertainment
Pavel Durov36$17.2 BRussiaTech
Lukas Walton34$15.6 BU.S.Fashion & Retail 
Eduardo Saverin39$14.6 BBrazilTech
Cheng Yixiao37$14.1 BChinaMedia & Entertainment
Brian Chesky39$13.7 BU.S.Tech
Nathan Blecharczyk37$12.4 BU.S.Tech
Joe Gebbia39$12.4 BU.S.Tech
Bobby Murphy32$11.9 BU.S.Tech
Evan Spiegel30$11.1 BU.S. Tech
Guillaume Pousaz39$9.0 BSwitzerlandFinance & Investments
Sam Bankman-Fried29$8.7 BU.S.Finance & Investments
Agnete Kirk Thinggaard37$8.7 BDenmarkManufacturing
Dmitry Bukhman35$7.9 BRussiaMedia & Entertainment
Igor Bukhman39$7.9 BRussiaMedia & Entertainment
Ernest Garcia, III.38$7.4 BU.S.Automotive
Brian Armstrong38$6.5 BU.S.Finance & Investments
Wang Ning & family34$6.3 BChinaMedia & Entertainment
Scott Duncan38$6.0 BU.S.Energy
David Velez39$5.2 BColombiaFinance & Investments
Kate Wang39$5.0 BChinaManufacturing 
Daniel Ek38$4.6 BSwedenTechnology
Gustav Magnar Witzoe27$4.4 BNorwayFood & Beverage
Steven Meng Yang & family38$4.2 BChinaTechnology
Li Xiang39$4.0 BChinaAutomotive
Ben Silbermann38$3.9 BU.S.Technology
Lynsi Snyder38$3.6 BU.S.Food & Beverage
Apoorva Mehta34$3.5 BCanadaTechnology
Franco Bittar Garcia37$3.5 BBrazilFashion & Retail 
Xu Yi31$3.4 BChina Media & Entertainment
RJ Scaringe38$3.4 BU.S.Automotive
Patrick Collison32$3.2 B Ireland Technology
John Collison30$3.2 BIrelandTechnology
Pedro de Godoy Bueno30$3.0 BBrazil Healthcare
Geoffrey Kwok35$3.0 BHong KongReal Estate
Yin Xin36$3.0 BChinaMedia & Entertainment
Huang Jinfeng38$3.0 BChinaFashion & Retail
Cameron Winklevoss39$3.0 BU.S.Finance & Investments
Tyler Winklevoss39$3.0 BU.S.Finance & Investments
Paul Sciarra40$2.9 BU.S. Technology
Chen Tianshi36$2.8 BChinaTechnology
Tony Xu36$2.8 BU.S.Technology
Victor Jacobsson39$2.7 BSwedenFiannce & Investments
Caroline Hagen Kjos37$2.6 BNorwayDiversified
Adam Kwok38$2.6 BHong KongReal Estate
André Street36$2.5 BBrazilFinance & Investments
Chang Jing38$2.5 BChinaTechnology
Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath39$2.5 BIndiaTechnology
Austin Russell26$2.4 BU.S.Automotive
Jonathan Kwok29$2.4 BHong KongReal Estate
David Chen40$2.4 BSingaporeMedia & Entertainment
Tom Persson36$2.3 BSwedenFashion & Retail
Jared Isaacman38$2.3 BU.S. Technology
Andrew Paradise38$2.3 BU.S. Media & Entertainment
Sebastian Siemiatkowski39$2.2 BSwedenFinance & Investments
Timur Turlov33$2.1 BRussiaFinance & Investments
Gong Yingying36$2.1 BChinaHealthcare
Katarina Martinson39$2.1 BSwedenDiversified
Andy Fang28$2.0 BU.S.Technology
Stanley Tang28$2.0 BU.S. Technology
Christopher Kwok35$1.9 BHong KongReal Estate
Ipek Kirac36$1.9 BTurkeyDiversified
Kevin Systrom37$1.9 BU.S.Technology
Fred Ehrsam32$1.9 BU.S. Finance & Investments
Nick Molnar30$1.8 BAustraliaFinance & Investments
Joachim Ante38$1.8 BGermanyTechnology
Drew Houston38$1.8 BU.S. Technology
Said Gutseriev32$1.7 BRussiaEnergy
Ginia Rinehart34$1.7 BAustraliaMetals & Mining
Hope Welker35$1.7 BAustraliaMetals & Mining
Bill Liu38$1.7 BChinaTechnology
Peter Szulczewski39$1.7 BCanadaTechnology
Lisa Draexlmaier30$1.6 BGermanyAutomotive
Eva Maria Braun-Luedicke34$1.6 BGermanyHealthcare
Heikki Herlin34$1.6 BFinlandManufacturing
Ryan Cohen35$1.6 BCanadaFiannce & Investments
Friederike Braun-Luedicke37$1.6 BGermanyHealthcare
Wen Yilong32$1.5 BChinaManufacturing
Zeng Chaolin38$1.5 BChinaMetals & Mining
Alexandra Andresen24$1.4 BNorwayDiversified
Katharina Andresen25$1.4 BNorwayDiversified
Karl Friedrich Braun38$1.4 BGermanyHealthcare
Trevor Milton39$1.4 BU.S.Automotive
Ludwig Theodor Braun31$1.3 BGermanyHealthcare
Anna Kasprzak31$1.3 BDenmark Fashion & Retail
Whitney Wolfe Herd31$1.3 BU.S.Technology
André Kasprzak34$1.3 BDenmarkFashion & Retail
Hakan Koc36$1.2 BGermanyAutomotive
Nik Storonsky36$1.2 BUKTechnology
Christian Bertermann37$1.2 BGermanyAutomotive
Ryan Graves37$1.2 BU.S.Technology
Cheng Wei38$1.2 BChinaService
Lu Zhilin38$1.2 BChinaManufacturing
Sachin Bansal39$1.2 BIndiaFashion & Retail
Huang Yimeng39$1.2 BChinaMedia & Entertainment
Wang Han33$1.1 BChinaDiversified
Anne Werninghaus35$1.1 BBrazil Manufacturing
Binny Bansal38$1.1 BIndiaTechnology
Sanjit Biswas39$1.1 BU.S.Technology
Vlad Tenev34$1.0 BU.S.Fiannce & Investments
Baiju Bhatt36$1.0 BU.S.Finance & Investments
Hou Jianbin39$1.0 BChinaService

The U.S. is home to the most millennial billionaires at 33 total, with China coming in second at 23—most other countries fall far behind.

In the U.S., millennial billionaires are often associated with notable tech companies like Snapchat, Airbnb, and Facebook. Others are heirs of massive family fortunes like Lukas Walton—grandson of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart and the original head of America’s richest family.

In China, some millennial billionaires really stand out, like Relx founder, Kate Wang. The 39-year-old started her e-cigarette and vape company only three years ago, at age 36, and is expected to soon be vying for the title of richest woman in China.

Billionaire Growth

Overall, billionaires were up $8 trillion in combined net worth compared to 2020 with around 493 new people added to the list in 2021.

In fact, 86% of all billionaires are richer than a year ago. But let’s look at how wealth changed for the millennials in the billionaires club. Here’s a look at the difference in net worth from 2020 to 2021 for the top five richest millennials:

  • Mark Zuckerberg: +$35 Billion
  • Zhang Yiming: +$19.4 Billion
  • Yang Huiyan: +$9.3 Billion
  • Dustin Moskovitz: +$8.5 Billion
  • Su Hua: +$14.9 Billion

For each of the top 25 millennial billionaires, net worth either increased or was unchanged (or they were new to the title of billionaire). This is true for all except one person—Lukas Walton, whose net worth decreased by almost $3 billion from 2020 to 2021.

The Average Millennial

While there are around 106 millennial billionaires worldwide, their combined net worth is only a fraction of total billionaire wealth. So how much economic power and influence does this generation really hold?

When looking at the average American millennial’s wealth, the Generational Power Index has determined that this young generation only holds 9.6% of economic power in the U.S. Here’s a quick look at millennial wealth metrics in the U.S.:

  • Millennials only make up 7% of American business leaders
  • They own $73 billion in equities and mutual fund shares
  • They represent 13% of small business leaders
  • They make up 7% of American billionaire wealth

Globally, there are an estimated 1.8 billion millennials. Among that cohort, there are just over 100 people worth billions—and given that many are still in the early part of their careers, there is likely to be many millennial billionaires yet to come.

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