The Pulse

The Average American Expects to Spend More Than $1,000 This Season...

… And men will spend nearly twice as much as women

Yet nearly half of holiday shoppers don’t set a budget or know their average holiday spend

RADNOR, Pa. (Dec. 6, 2017) — Only half of Americans know how much they are going to spend as they deck the halls this year, according to a Lincoln Financial Group study about holiday spending habits.

The 51 percent of shoppers who have a budget expect to spend an average of $1,115 this holiday season — but this amount differs significantly depending on the gender and age of the shopper.

Men are looking at holiday expenses that average $1,428, while women only expect to shell out $786. Millennials plan to put about $1,400 towards the holidays — approximately $500 more than Boomers and Gen Xers. Yet with some careful planning, holiday shoppers can ensure their personal finances don’t end up on the naughty list.

Plan ahead and make a budget

Lincoln’s study found that just under half of all shoppers don’t take the time to make a budget or even know how much they spend. Smart shoppers will make a budget, check it at least twice and stick to it.

“It’s tempting to splurge at this time of year, but it’s important to ensure that holiday spending doesn’t derail your finances,” said Jamie Ohl, president, Retirement Plan Services, Lincoln Financial Group. “As with all financial matters, planning is a good way to stay on track, even when you’re tempted by sales and impulse buys.”

Save money throughout the year for holiday spending
While Millennials are spending more, they are also the generation that is most likely to save for their holiday expenditures. Most Millennials, 64 percent, plan ahead for December spending, while only 49 percent of Gen Xers, 36 percent of Boomers, and 28 percent of Goldens put money away for holiday expenses.

Don’t go into December debt
Anyone who receives a new wallet this holiday season may have less cash to put in it, thanks to their holiday spending. Nearly a third of all Americans often start the new year with holiday debt, and 31 percent of those who do set a budget for the holidays have trouble sticking to it.

“Gifts you give others shouldn’t be at the expense of your own financial future,” said Ohl. “Planning ahead and creating a holiday budget can help ensure that you’re able to spend this holiday season without sacrificing your other savings or even more importantly, your retirement savings.”

Focus on what is important (and free)
Traditions drive many events around the holidays, but spending doesn’t necessarily align to people’s favorite traditions. Whether giving for eight days or one, gifts are the biggest holiday expense for 67 percent of Americans, but only 8 percent say that purchasing or giving gifts is their favorite holiday tradition. In fact, many people said that there was no cost associated with their favorite traditions, including gathering with family and friends, sharing a special meal, attending religious ceremonies and enjoying lights and decorations.

Treat yourself to a great holiday, years from now

While Millennials are spending more, they are also the generation that is most likely to save for their holiday expenditures

Millennials are the most likely to take advantage of holiday sales to buy what they really want — 62 percent spend money on themselves as well as others during the holiday season, compared to 49 percent of Gen Xers, 37 percent of Boomers and 27 percent of Goldens.

But rather than spending extra money on gifts for themselves now, shoppers may want to instead bolster their retirement savings or expenses related to education or long-term care. Lincoln Financial has a number of online tools and calculators that can provide important information on financial planning at



About Lincoln Financial Group Lincoln Financial Group provides advice and solutions that help empower people to take charge of their financial lives with confidence and optimism. Today, more than 17 million customers trust our retirement, insurance and wealth protection expertise to help address their lifestyle, savings and income goals, as well as to guard against long-term care expenses. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. The company had $246 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2017. Lincoln is a committed corporate citizen and was named one of the Forbes Best Employers for 2017, is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America, and received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index. Learn more at: Find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. To sign up for email alerts, please visit our Newsroom at About Retirement Plan Services
For more than 50 years, Lincoln Financial Group’s Retirement Plan Services (RPS) business has been helping savers boost their retirement readiness through employer-sponsored plans. Our retirement plans help employers recruit and retain top talent, while our combination of high-tech and high-touch service creates an engaging customer experience that drives positive outcomes. The RPS business helps people understand how steps they take today can help them get to and through retirement tomorrow. The business serves approximately 1.4 million participants through 21,000 plan sponsors with $65 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2017.
About the Financial Focus: Goals and Reflections of Today’s Customer, Year-End 2017 Study
The Financial Focus: Goals and Reflections of Today’s Customer, Year-End 2017 study is based on a national survey of 2500 Americans ages 18 and older, conducted by PSB behalf of Lincoln Financial Group. Data was weighted to reflect the total population of adults 18 or older within the United States. Online interviewing took place from Nov. 3 to Nov. 15, 2017.