CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- LendingTree®, the nation's leading online loan marketplace, today released its study on Americans' credit scores by generation that found that the older someone is, the better their credit tends to be. On average, members of the silent generation (the oldest cohort) have credit scores 100 points higher than those of millennials.
Millennials and Gen Xers have, on average, "fair" credit scores.
Baby boomers have "good" scores.
Members of the silent generation have "very good" scores.
Credit Score by Generation
Average Credit Score
Source: Analysis of an anonymized sample (July 2018) from among My LendingTree's 9 million users.
Why older people have higher credit scores
One possible reason for higher scores among older people is cultural. In general, they may use credit less and may be more disciplined savers and spenders, said Kali McFadden, senior research analyst at LendingTree.
Another reason is that older Americans are more settled financially, with lower monthly costs. In general, the older someone is, the lower their mortgage payments and student loan debts are (or they don't have such payments at all). Older Americans may also not need new furniture or have child care costs. That means they are less likely to have urgent financial costs that can result in delinquencies, which can hurt credit scores.
The younger generations, in contrast, are likely saddled with higher amounts of debt. Additionally, they may have higher living costs — potentially associated with caring for families — and fewer savings. That could lead to limited financial wiggle room to cover unexpected expenses, so they could be more likely to be late on bills that can lead to negative marks on their credit.
It's also a matter of the length of credit history. Millennials, who are as young as 22, haven't had the time to build up the credit history that is necessary to achieve a stellar score.
"Even someone who has handled their finances impeccably will have lower credit scores until they've demonstrated that across a mix of debt products over an extended period of time," McFadden said.
Millennials and Gen Xers may have to pay more for loans
Banks, credit card issuers and other lenders make lending decisions based on a borrower's creditworthiness. They offer much better rates to borrowers with higher scores.
Individuals with fair credit scores pay far more in interest on a host of debts, including from credit cards, mortgages and student loans, than those who have very good scores.
Gen Xers and millennials both fall into the "fair" score range, while the average silent generation score is in the "very good" range. Based on findings in both studies, analysts estimate that it would cost millennials and Gen Xers $29,106 more than it would silent generation members for the same average-sized mortgage loan ($234,437), and $5,629 for the same amount of credit card debt ($5,265).
Total Interest Paid Over the Lifetime of Loans
Average Loan Amount
Very Good Credit Score
Fair Credit Score
Total Cost Difference
Sources: Analysis of anonymized LendingTree and My LendingTree consumer loan and debt data.
Boomers aren't much better off
While the higher credit score of baby boomers (average credit score: 696) is a sign of better financial stability than the younger generations, there's still room for improvement. The average boomer score trails that of the elder generation by 38 points.
The concern about boomers is that lower scores can mean that people are struggling to manage their monthly finances by keeping low revolving credit balances and paying their bills on time, McFadden explained.
"Ideally, people should be in a stable position to manage the expenses they already have before losing a portion of their income through retirement," McFadden said.
About LendingTree LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE) is the nation's leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search, and can choose the option that best fits their financial needs. Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student refinances, credit cards and more. Through the My LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health. My LendingTree proactively compares consumers' credit accounts against offers on our network, and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. In short, LendingTree's purpose is to help simplify financial decisions for life's meaningful moments through choice, education and support. LendingTree, LLC is a subsidiary of LendingTree, Inc. For more information, go to www.lendingtree.com, dial 800-555-TREE, like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter @LendingTree.