Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth! Most generous gift-giving generation revealed

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New research by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) has revealed how much Aussies spend on gifts each year. Source: Getty.

If you have kids or grandkids, you no doubt spend a considerable chunk of your hard-earned cash each year on gifts for various special occasions, from birthdays and Christmases, to Easter, school graduations or – and you can try to deny it – just because you love to spoil them. However new research has now revealed the shocking amount of cash that generous Aussies splurge on presents for their loved ones annually.

The total bill for gift buying in the Land Down Under comes to a whopping $19.8 billion, according to data compiled by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) – which works out at an average of $100 per year, per person, or a total of $1,200 per annum. And, while the overall amount may sound like a lot, it turns out some age groups are far more generous than others, with the research exposing the gift-giving tendencies of Millennials, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Z.

Perhaps surprisingly, the demographic who cough up the most cash for gifts are Millennials. Despite those aged between 25 and 39 copping a lot of flak for wasting their cash on unnecessary luxuries – namely pricey helpings of avocado on toast – it turns out they spend the most when it comes to treating others, spending roughly $130 per month on gifts. Gen Z were the second most generous generation (18-24 year olds), followed by Baby Boomers who spend around $89 per month. Meanwhile Gen X came in last, with the research showing that people aged 40 to 54 tend to be less liberal on the spending front, with a monthly average of $87.

However while Boomers may not spend the most on gifts, those aged between 55 and 73 years old claimed to gain the most joy out of giving to other people, as the report revealed that 90 per cent of people within this demographic feel more joy when they give a gift, rather than when they receive a present. In comparison, 84 per cent of Gen X and Gen Y said the same, while just 78 per cent of those within the youngest demographic (Gen Z) said they get more happiness when they’re treating someone else.

The report also highlighted which age groups are most likely to regift as two in five Aussies admitted to having passed on a gift they didn’t want or need to someone else, with Gen Y (Millennials) being the biggest culprits in this category (54 per cent) and Baby Boomers – perhaps surprisingly – said they were the least likely to do so. While weddings seemed to warrant the biggest spend with guests spending $137 on average in celebration of their friends’ and relatives’ nuptials, followed by Christmas ($93), adult and teenage birthdays ($66), with people spending an average of $50 on the birthdays of other people’s children.

And it’s not just our human pals that we spend our savings on as 74 per cent of those surveyed admitted to treating their furry friends to gifts, with the average spend coming in at $115 per year. However Millennials spent more than that at $121 per year, while Gen Xers admitted to splashing out as much as $144 annually.

However the research also highlighted some more alarming financial traits of Aussies, finding that almost three quarters (73 per cent) don’t budget for gifts, with men (24 per cent) also emerging as less likely to plan how much they’re going to spend than women (31 per cent). While those least likely to set a spending limit were revealed to be older singles, older families and couples (79 per cent). But this lack of budgeting doesn’t seem to bother the majority of people as 81 per cent said they were happy with the amount they spend on pressies each year.

FPA CEO Dante De Gori admitted he was concerned by the statistics which showed that the majority of Aussies do not factor the gifts they need to buy throughout the year into their wider financial planning. He said: “It bothers me the research shows most of our generosity is unplanned. There’s literally billions of dollars of household spend that is simply not budgeted for by 3 in 4 Australians.”

Surprisingly Millennials, despite many struggling to enter the housing market or move out of their family home due to the rising cost of living, were found to be the generation most likely to allocate a budget for gifts. The report read: “Gen Y can be commended for being the most likely generation to have a budget that includes an allocation for gifts … However, when they choose a gift, they are the least likely to decide how much to spend based on their budget at the time.”

The research comes just days after it was claimed that today’s young Australians are on track to be the first generation in living memory to be worse off financially than their parents. Independent think tank the Grattan Institute published its ‘Generation gap: ensuring a fair go for younger Australians’ report on Sunday, which stated that the living standards of the young are being harmed by the effects of an ageing population, while seniors enjoy a more comfortable living with greater expendable income.

Grattan stated that seniors in Australia are spending more and have more money to spare than previous generations, while younger demographics cannot boast the same. And, while it is often suggested that the youth of today have no spare cash due to their spending habits, with smashed avocado on toast often blamed for their hardship, the report claims these myths are simply not true.

“Older Australians today spend more and have higher incomes and greater wealth than older Australians three decades ago,” report authors Danielle Wood and Kate Griffiths said in a statement. “But living standards have improved far less for younger Australians. The wealth of households headed by someone under 35 has barely moved since 2004.”

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