Young adults, including Christians, have a complicated relationship with money

Photo by Alexander Mils (via Unsplash)

When it comes to making financial decisions, although some Christian young adults are influenced by their faith, many do not handle their money in typical Christian ways.

An AdelFi study conducted by Lifeway Research found that having a Christian worldview impacts how young adults (aged 25-40) manage their money, which is particularly evident in the fact that Christians give nearly three times as much money as non-Christians. Additionally, Christians are more than twice as likely as non-Christians to say that faith influences their financial decisions. In particular, most Christians say they recognize the responsibility of good financial management stewardship.

“AdelFi was interested in understanding what differences exist in how young Christians handle their money compared to non-Christians,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “Christians are much more active in giving their finances and no less active in trying to do good with their spending.”

The average young adult does business with 2.4 financial institutions (loan accounts, current accounts, savings accounts, etc.) and owns 1.9 credit cards. But 23% do not have an active credit card. Young adults also have different mindsets about spending money. Overall, 45% of young adults say they track their spending and 45% say they save for what they want to buy. Another 41% say they have established a budget that they follow. They are less likely to say that they often buy things on impulse (28%) or that they obtain a loan or finance purchases when needed (16%).

Young adults are the most likely to say their parents influence their financial decisions (47%). But they are also frequently influenced by their friends (30%), financial publications or websites (25%) and financial advisors (20%). While most young adults make financial decisions based on what they want today (76%), even more say they consider where they want to be years from now (83%) when they make financial decisions.

Just over a third of young adults (36%) agree that their religious faith influences their financial decisions. Christians (44%) are more than twice as likely as non-Christians (20%) to agree that their faith influences their financial decisions. But the exact impact of faith on how one manages money varies.

Difference in donations and expenses

The typical Christian young adult make a donation more than three times more than non-Christians in a year ($1,820 vs. $556). This is facilitated by the fact that more Christians donate to a local church (37%) and religious organizations (28%) than non-Christians (8% and 11% respectively). Although most Christian young adults do not give to a local church (63%), many still say that tithing, giving at least 10%, to their local church is a biblical commandment today (56%) .

“Christians would be expected to give more to churches and religious organizations than non-Christians, but they are also more likely to give to 3 out of 4 other types of recipients,” McConnell said. “While overall the financial generosity of young Christian adults is very noticeable, there remains a large group that does not practice its belief in the need to give to a local church.”

Tithing alone does not account for the difference in giving between Christian and non-Christian young adults, as Christians are also more likely to give to other groups. In fact, Christian young adults gave twice as much as non-Christians to individuals or families in need in the past year ($603 vs. $261). Christians are also more likely than non-Christians to donate to a GoFundMe crowdfunding effort (27% vs. 20%) and non-religious charitable or educational organizations (29% vs. 20%). There is no significant difference in giving to social causes.

The generosity of the Christian goes beyond financial gifts. Christian young adults (74%) are also more likely than non-Christians (68%) to agree that it is important to regularly give up their time to volunteer to help good causes or people in need.

Overall, young American adults don’t seem particularly generous. Although Christians are more likely to have donated in the past year (70%) than non-Christians (55%), 83% of young adults have given a total of $1,000 or less in the past year. of the last year. Although most survey participants (56%) worked full time, 36% of young adults did not donate to a group or individual in need in the past year.

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