They are more willing to give up financial stability for smartphones, than younger generations.

It’s no secret that baby boomers give millennials a hard time for being irresponsible with their money. Weirdly, they’re the irresponsible ones — at least when it comes to smartphones.

A new survey from investment company Voya Financial shows millennials choose financial security over smartphones, cars and vacations at a higher rate than any other generation.

“We all value the things that make our lives easier, more productive, and give us joy — like spending vacation time with family and friends,” says Voya Financial annuities executive Carolyn Johnson. “And while the goal of achieving financial security may feel daunting or perhaps even unreachable, Americans recognize its importance.”

The survey surprisingly found that baby boomers are more attached to their smartphones than millennials and Gen Xers. They value them more than financial security. Only half of boomers would pick financial security over smartphones, cars, or vacations. That compares with 56 percent of millennials.

This may be a surprise to some, but most baby boomers own smartphones now, and almost three quarters of younger boomers (ages 50-59) own one. Younger boomers are also more likely to use all capabilities of smartphones. That includes checking email, directions, browsing the Internet, checking the news, even purchasing and playing games on them.

Why do millennials care so much about financial stability?

Most millennials grew up during the Great Recession and have necessarily learned to save money in a harsh economy. The same way millennials value financial security, they are the most comfortable generation with their savings, debt, net worth and overall financial health.

“Millennials have a greater inclination toward saving, for both emergencies and retirement, than we’ve seen from previous generations,” says Bankrate analyst Greg McBride. “Much of this is attributable to the financial crisis and Great Recession coming during the financially formative years for many millennials.”

Seeing their parents and family members go through tough financial situations has helped teach this group to survive on little. Which in turn helps them save better on the income they earn. Millennials have half the amount of money saved as baby boomers did at the same age, so it’s no wonder they care more about financial security.

How the times have changed

Millennials are now the largest group in the workforce. When baby boomers were the largest group in the workforce, they were far more financially secure without trying as hard — millennials make $10,000 less in a year than their 1989 counterparts did.

That same year, tuition costs at a four-year public college were $3,454 in today’s dollars. Now: $9,410. And at the time, not everyone was expected to go to college. Today, a college degree is needed to even be considered for most jobs.

Millennials are so concerned about not having enough money that it pushes them to work harder than most generations. Their debts are like aftershocks of the recession, factors that drive them to work constantly.

Fear and guilt about taking time off of work are also high compared to baby boomers, to the point where many millennials never take vacations. Almost half of millennials would like their boss to think they are a “work martyr.”

A smartphone may not be a bad trade for peace of mind and financial stability.

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Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of

Career and Business

Baby Boomers, Gen X, income, millennials, productivity, save money

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Article last modified on January 31, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Baby Boomers Really Love Smartphones - AMP.