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Next stop, Mortgage – Mind the doors please!

·         Four generational tube style maps created to represent personal finance timelines

·         Gen Z revealed as the quickest to adopt financial products

·         Gen X relied heavily on credit, compared to more reluctant Baby Boomers

·         Millennials divided between those who settle down early and settle down late


first direct has brought to life people’s financial lifetimes by creating tube style maps that compare attitudes, decisions, and personal finance milestones from each of the last four generations.

Using a combination of data from a nationwide consumer study* and national statistics, and working with Regulatory Experts and Psychologists from Info Design Central**, first direct has built a map showing the different financial ‘lines’ and ‘stations’ for Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

The maps visually demonstrate the typical personal finance journey each generation has faced and the differences between them, so the nation can better understand what has driven their attitudes and decisions and what stops are yet to come to help them improve their relationship with money in the future.

Chris Pitt, CEO of first direct, commented: “first direct’s goal is to support people with their understanding of money, and one way to start doing this is by having a clear view of your own personal finance journey. Our aim is to provoke conversations around lifetime financial planning among different generations.

“Although we know everyone’s relationship with money – and therefore journey – is very different, the maps give a snapshot of the typical timeline the various generations have faced. We hope this will resonate with people and they can use the maps as a tool to get them thinking about their next steps in their journeys.”


Mind the gap

Each map contains four tube lines that cover a Life Events Line, Loans Line, Personal Finance Line and an Investment Line, each showing major life milestones from getting your first car to mortgages, marriage, kids, and retirement represented as stations. An ‘under construction’ section also shows the milestones and decisions each generation hasn’t reached yet, and the ages when they can expect to.

These are accompanied by a Financial Events Line which runs simultaneously alongside the maps to show what was going on in the wider world at the same time as their own life decisions, including when credit cards and ISAs were launched, the introduction of student loans, pension auto-enrolment and the birth of the internet.

By visualising the information as maps, key trends for each generation were revealed, including:

Baby Boomers (born between 1947-1965):

The Baby Boom generation were late adopters to financial solutions such as credit cards and tended to spend-as-things-happen, rather than take products as they became available.

Gen X (born between 1966-1981):

Gen Xs differ from their Baby Boom parents, with credit their way of life. With more availability of easy credit, they were more likely to spend before they settled down.

Millennials (born between 1982-1997):

There are two distinct Millennial groups – settling down early vs settling down late. Early settlers are married with children by 25, whilst later settlers are yet to reach these milestones.

Gen Z (born between 1998 and 2005):

Although they have the most uncertain future, savvy Gen Zs are experiencing personal finance milestones at pace, taking financial decisions earlier than previous generations. This speed-driven generation is quick to take up on financial products.


Telling a generational story

As well as looking at individual generation’s journeys, the maps also make it clear to see where there are differences. Notable differences included:

·         Gen Z were most likely to reach financial milestones before any previous generation, including taking out financial products. This can be attributed to the availability of products to them and changing policies and legislation (e.g. auto enrolment in workplace pensions).

·         Millennials were likely to delay their financial product decisions and major purchases until after University, unlike Gen Zs. Millennials took their first ISA at 23, whereas Gen Zs were 19.

·         Gen Z were first to get a credit card at 19, followed by Millennials at 22, Gen X at 25 and Baby Boomers (historically, most reluctant on credit) at 29.

·         The generation first to start saving was Gen Zs at 19; Millennials opened their first savings account after University at 22, Gen X at 23 and Baby Boomers at 24.

·         Gen Z expect to have their first mortgage at 26, whereas late Millennials expect to by the age of 34. Gen X had their first mortgage at the same age as Baby Boomers which was 27.


*Survey of 4,000 British consumers carried out by Censuswide on behalf of first direct bank.

** Info Design Central includes Sietske de Groot, Regulatory Expert, Director and Founder of TradePeers Ltd and Dr Maxwell Roberts, Psychologist / Information Designer Proprietor of Tube Map Central.

For further information please email Ben Marquand at ben.marquand@firstdirect.com or call 0113 276 6700.

Or email rebecca.farnsworth@aberfield.com or call 0113 8800 444.


Notes to Editors:

About first direct

first direct provides mobile banking, online and telephone services to its 1.5m customers and offers a full range of personal banking products including its multi-award winning current account and mortgages. It’s been recognised as being a pioneer of amazing customer service by numerous independent third parties including The Competition and Markets Authority, Which?, Moneywise, Moneyfacts and Moneysavingexpert.com. As well as its Facebook page, first direct uses social media to engage with customers through LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

Baby Boomers

Generation X


Generation Z

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