Age: 56
Location: United States
Occupation: Teacher

Single again, Sandra worries about whether she’s saving enough for retirement to continue her San Francisco lifestyle. Sandra has spent her career working as an elementary teacher – personally rewarding but financially challenging in the expensive Fog City. She debates whether to take a second job, apply her skills to a better-paying line of work or move.


Age: 60
Location: Turkey
Occupation: Physician

Ahmet lives on the coast of Turkey in Antalya, where he works as a doctor at a full service health agency. Ahmet will be happy and healthy when his daughter’s specialist degree from university pays off. To his wife’s annoyance, powerboat racing is becoming Ahmet’s death-defying passion.


Age: 72
Location: Argentina
Occupation: Cattle rancher

Pablo is ambivalent about turning all responsibility of the family’s cattle ranch in the La Pampa province over to his sons and daughters. His older brother bought a condo in Buenos Aires and thinks it’s also time for Pablo to relax and enjoy the ocean view. Pablo’s wife agrees, but Pablo fears that deterioration will follow him into retirement.


Age: 68
Location: Singapore
Occupation: Part-time component engineer

During her lifetime, Lee has witnessed the tremendous evolution of Singapore into a sophisticated society. Lee has one foot in retirement and the other in part-time work as a component engineer. She helps out with her grandchildren but doesn’t want babysitting to hinder her and her husband from touring the world when they fully retire.


55 to 73 years old

A large percentage of baby boomers has entered retirement, and the remainder is on its way. Forty percent are still working, 12% are self-employed and 35% have retired. Compared with younger generations, baby boomers are significantly more traditional in how they want to pay, preferring paper or plastic over digital. Only 12% are early adopters of technology compared with nearly double that (21%) among Gen X.




In large part, baby boomers believe they have a good grip on their finances. Fewer set budgets, but they still track their spending. About half of baby boomers (48%) carry debt, far fewer than millennials (62%), or Gen Xers (59%). Credit cards (23%), mortgages (20%) and personal loans (16%) make up the bulk of their debts.

Boomers - A day in the life: Grocery shopping

"I'd rather pay lower everyday prices than get a few rewards."



Only living with a furry animal since her “singlehood,” Sandra shops at a small grocer in San Francisco for smaller portions, and lower prices on its private label. She tries to stop by on her way home from work. Otherwise, she pays a surcharge for the necessary valet parking to shop in the city with a car. Sandra pays with her debit card to keep spending in check.

“I’d rather pay more and spend less time walking through grocery aisles.”



Ahmet and his wife sometimes shop in-store for groceries at a specialty grocer, for organic products not found at discount grocers. They often use the grocer’s online shopping and delivery-to-the-door services since both of them work long hours, Ahmet’s wife signed them up for the loyalty program online and registered with her mobile number.

Learn more about generational different through our insights report.

“We have to drive a distance to shop, so we stock up when we go.”


About once a month, Pablo and his wife travel South to Santa Rosa to stock up on groceries and household items. In between, Pablo’s wife shops mostly at nearby farmer’s markets. Pablo’s family gets a discount with the grocer's debit card. He could keep track of his account on his mobile device but usually checks it with his computer.

“I’d like to be able to combine points from in-store, online, and café programs.”

Grocery shopping

Lee and her husband sometimes shop at open markets in Singapore, especially for produce and spices. But their go-to grocer offers more specialty like healthier choices, refined sugar-free snacks and kombucha to whittle their middles. Their three separate loyalty programs provide points redeemable for discounts on future purchases.

27% prefer to pay for groceries with credit cards
26% prefer cash
21% use debit/prepaid cards
Did you know?

Baby boomers’ preferred payment methods for groceries are nearly the same as those of Gen X’s – more card-dipping than younger generations and less cash payment preference than Gen Z (35%).

Compared to baby boomers, beyond boomers rely even more heavily on credit cards (36%).  



Destination: Albuquerque, NM
Payment methods: Credit card
Sandra spends spring break in New Mexico to study the “Alchemy of Poetry.” Free from technology, she splurges on a room with a breathtaking view. She charges her airfare, the rental car, and lodging on her credit card. Relieved that the car made it up the mountains, Sandra wonders if they need teachers in Taos.
Destination: Cyprus
Payment methods: Credit card
Ahmet’s wife persuaded him to spend a few days off at a hotel in Cyprus, where she books appointments at its expensive a spa. After two days of tranquility, Ahmet escapes to a scuba diving center to explore underwater caves. His wife hangs at the adults-only pool – all for a royal total on their credit card.
Destination: Buenos Aires
Payment methods: Cash
Pablo and his spouse spend a few days away from the cattle ranch with his brother and wife in Buenos Aires. Pablo’s brother acts as a tour guide, steering them to condos with an ocean view while touting the merits of retirement. Pablo insists on picking up the check when they dine out, and pays with cash.
Did you know?
47% prefer to use credit cards for travel
13% prefer debit/prepaid cards
9% prefer cash

Baby boomers’ payment preferences for travel are nearly identical to those of Gen X.

The most significant differences are found between baby boomers and Gen Z members who are far less likely to use credit cards for travel and more likely to prefer cash.

To a lesser degree, baby boomers are more likely to book travel with a credit card than millennials, while more millennials prefer debit/prepaid cards than baby boomers.

24% of Canadians will plan international travel once COVID restrictions are lifted. Learn more.



Without a clothing budget beyond replacing her worn-out basics, Sandra limits online shopping to books, usually purchased from a major e-commerce retailer. She keeps her card on file there, but for other e-commerce retailers, she pays with a little-used credit card.

“I trust big sites to keep my information safe. I’m not as sure about other sites.”


According to his wife, Ahmet spends too much of his free time perusing the marine superstore site. They sell millions of performance marine parts and a catalog with the “best of the best,” crammed onto 160 printed pages. He opened an account with them and keeps his card on file there.

“When I receive a shipment, it feels as if I’ve won the New Year’s lottery.”


Pablo shops for his work clothes on a specialty online store to replace his worn-out bombachas, shirts and boots. Pablo remains leery of online security, but his children have convinced him of its safety as long as he pays with his credit card.

“I’d rather see what I buy in person, but I buy the same things over and over so they should fit.”


Lee’s favorite online shopping site offers furniture, décor items and kitchenware at reasonable prices. She doesn’t need much these days, but the grandchildren left a permanent red pop stain on the sofa. Shaking her head, she pulls out her credit card to order a new one in cowhide.

“I could go to the store, but it would take up my whole day, and right now, it’s on sale for 15 percent off.”

19% of Canadian consumers over age 55 tried a new delivery service during COVID. Learn more.

Did you know?
40% prefer to use credit cards for online purchases
16% use a mobile wallet
15% prefer debit/prepaid cards

Baby boomers’ payment preferences for online shopping also mirror those of Gen X.

They are more likely to prefer to purchase online with a credit card than Gen Z or millennials.

Beyond boomers are even more likely than baby boomers to prefer credit cards for online shopping.

Gen Z and millennials are more likely to keep their cards on file.

Dining out


On her teacher’s salary, Sandra’s big night out with friends consists of dinners at a fast food joint, where she consistently orders the cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate shake. Her married friend Marlene comes armed with a photo of a local professor of geology, a proposed fix up who looks as if he’s been in the sun too long. Sandra pays for her meal with her debit card.

“Fast food fits our budgets, but the app doesn’t allow me to pay.”

Dining out

Ahmet, his wife and their friends head out to a popular restaurant – known for its Bosphorous view of Istanbul and where he has less chance of running into patients. Watching his diet more closely than their finances, Ahmet orders the grilled fish. He pays the bill with his credit card and leaves a healthy cash tip.

“I want to keep up with a healthy lifestyle motto.”

Dining out

On Pablo’s trip to Buenos Aires, his brother insists on cooking most of their meals as he tries to convince Pablo to retire to the “good life” in a high rise. To repay his host’s hospitality, Pablo makes reservations for four at a top-rated steakhouse with a six-course tasting menu plus dessert. Stuffed, Pablo grabs the server’s attention and pays the bill and the tip in cash.

Learn more about generational payment insights through our report.

Dining out

More health-conscious these days, Lee and her husband try to make healthy restaurant choices and persuade their also-aging friends to join them. The nearby vegan cafe is a favorite, but its name holds less appeal to some of their friends than the local organic restaurant. When dining at either restaurant, Lee pays the bill with her credit card.

31% use credit cards for dining out
25% use cash
18% use debit/prepaid cards
Did you know?

Baby boomers’ payment preferences for dining out – like travel – are nearly the same as those of Gen X.

The most significant differences are found between baby boomers and Gen Z members who are more likely to prefer cash over credit cards.

To a lesser extent, baby boomers are more likely to use credit cards for eating out than millennials. In contrast, millennials are more likely to use contactless payments or mobile wallets.


“The sizing for cheaper clothes is inconsistent, so shopping in-store is better.”


Sandra’s pajama bottoms have lost their grip at the waistline and put her in jeopardy of indecent exposure when she lets the dog out late at night. She heads to a department store and uses the retailer’s credit card at checkout to get cash rewards to use next week to replace her holey socks.

“The older I get, the more I loathe spending time shopping for clothes.”


Ahmet would rather be racing his powerboat around the Sea of Marmara than shopping in a store, but twice a year, he sacrifices an afternoon to update his dress wardrobe. One suit, three shirts and seven pairs of socks send Ahmet on his way. He checks out with his credit card.

“I’m just the truck driver on these trips.”


Pablo’s wife is a department store fan, so that’s where they head when holiday shopping for the children and grandchildren or when they need to replace an appliance or a piece of furniture they can’t buy from elsewhere. They take Pablo’s truck for large purchases since the delivery charges to the ranch are outrageous. Pablo pays in cash for small purchases but pulls out his credit card for big-ticket items.

“At our age, shopping has just become another chore.”


Lee and her husband keep their shopping budget in check by heading to the outlet mall when they need to replace well-worn clothing or fill an eyeglass prescription. Some of the stores have rewards programs, but Lee feels she would need to spend much more to be able to use them. She pays with her mobile wallet.

42% of U.S. consumers made more purchases through their mobile device during COVID. Learn more.

Did you know?
30% use credit cards for in-store shopping
23% use cash
21% use debit/prepaid cards

Baby boomers’ payment preferences for in-store shopping continue to align with those of Gen X.

They are more likely to prefer to purchase in-store with a credit card than Gen Z.

They are significantly less likely to use digital payments than Gen Z or millennials.


Sandra meets her friend Anne at the gastropub for mac and cheese, a couple of beers, and the latest gossip about her unhappy ex before taking the train back to her apartment. Anne grabs the check and pays with her credit card, while Sandra fishes for not-enough cash in her purse. Pulling out her mobile phone, Sandra clicks on her bank app and sends Anne money.

“Using my bank app is like having a debit card for friends on your phone.”

Ahmet sits down once a month and pays the bills from his bank account. Today, Ahmet follows his colleague Mehmet down the cafeteria line at the hospital. Mehmet pays for his lunch, which embarrasses Ahmet. Fortunately, Ahmet has plenty of cash with him and discretely tucks bills in Mehmet’s jacket pocket.

“I pay our bills through the bank’s site, so I can keep track of our finances in one spot.”

44% prefer to settle up with friends in cash
11% use bank transfers
7% use debit/prepaid cards

Pablo manages his banking with his banking app – usually on his computer but sometimes with his tablet. On his last trip to Buenos Aires, Pablo asked his brother to keep an eye out for a particular type of mate gourd. The beautiful gourd arrives with the price tag attached, and Pablo reimburses his brother through a bank transfer.

Lee pays bills with her bank’s mobile app during lunch breaks at work. She’s used to paying and reimbursing friends with her mobile wallet in Singapore, so mobile banking is a natural extension. However, her aging eyes continue to challenge her use of the small screen.

“One day, I’ll probably need to use my computer for banking since my phone’s screen seems to be shrinking.”

4% use mobile wallets
3% use a P2P payment
Did you know?

Although two-thirds (68%) of baby boomers manage their banking online, less than half (47%) use mobile banking, and only one-quarter use a mobile wallet to make payments – 10 percentage points below the global average. Further, 46% of baby boomers have no interest in using a mobile wallet to make payments. Fifty-three percent have no interest in managing their loyalty cards with a mobile wallet.


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