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LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

Americans Spend More On Mother’s Day Than Father’s Day — And Dads Like It

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With Father’s Day around the corner, many of us are searching for the perfect gift for Dad. But according to our recent survey of more than 2,000 consumers, you might want to put your wallet away and opt for quality time instead.

A new LendingTree survey of dads discovered that a majority of fathers prefer “quality time” to any other gift. This frugality might help explain another finding — that many Americans turn to their fathers for financial advice before making a major purchase, such as a house or car.

Key findings

  • Dads’ most-wanted gift this Father’s Day will cost you nothing. Fifty-eight percent of dads said they most want quality time with their family, followed by a special dinner or a thoughtful card. (Read more)
  • We spend more on Mother’s Day than Father’s Day. On average, consumers spent $219 on their moms and plan to spend $190 on their dads. (Read more)
  • Many see their dad as a financial role model. But while 43% considered their dad to be a key source for financial information, most respondents — especially younger ones — were more likely to turn to their mom for money advice. (Read more)
  • Buying a car is the No. 1 money situation where Americans turn to their dad. The survey found 4 in 10 respondents have approached their dad for advice when buying a car, while fewer have sought his views on careers and budgeting. (Read more)
  • Most say their dad helped them develop good money habits. Roughly half of those surveyed cited their dad as a key teacher of positive money behavior as they were growing up. (Read more)

Father’s Day doesn’t have to cost a thing

We talked to dads across America and the verdict is in: Their most-wanted gift doesn’t cost any money. Among those surveyed, 58% said they wanted quality time with their family the most.

A little over a quarter (26%) said their favorite gift would be a special dinner, while nearly 1 in 5 (18%) said they’d like a thoughtful card.

Overall, 16% said they didn’t want anything “that costs money” (respondents could choose more than one answer), while 9% agreed that the best gift would be something homemade.

After a year of lockdowns and staying in, it might not be surprising that 13% of the fathers we spoke with said their ideal gift this Father’s Day would be time to themselves to enjoy some peace and quiet.

Kids are still spending on gifts, though less than for Mom

Even though many dads don’t seem that interested in big-ticket items, their children are still planning to spend.

On average, consumers surveyed said they expected to spend $190 on Father’s Day gifts. Planned spending was especially high among millennials, who intended to shell out an average of $403.

But Father’s Day gift-buying is still less than that for Mother’s Day, when consumers spend an average of $219 (with that number nearly doubling to $432 among millennials).

So if fathers seem to prefer gifts that don’t cost anything, their kids may be focusing their shopping on mom.

Most Gen Zers see Dad as a financial role model

Many respondents also consider their father to be a top financial role model, though here, too, Mom may be the more likely person to get advice from.

Overall, 43% named their dad as a financial role model, a number that was especially high among Gen Zers (53%) and millennials (48%).

However, every generation (except the baby boomers) was slightly more likely to ask Mom for financial advice before turning to Dad.

Likewise, only 13% of respondents said their father would be the first person they’d ask for money advice. Overall, they were more likely to turn to their partner or spouse, a financial advisor or their mom (in that order).

Unsurprisingly, younger generations were more likely to turn to their parents than to a partner or financial advisor. For instance, 27% of Gen Zers and 17% of millennials said they would ask their dad about money before turning to any other sources.

Fathers give advice on cars, careers, budgeting

Our Father’s Day survey also suggested that when it comes to managing money, not all fatherly advice is created equal.

Buying a car was the No. 1 money situation where Americans turn to their dad. Four in 10 consumers have asked their dad for advice when buying a car.

Respondents said their father also helped them with career advice (21% got help from their dad) and budgeting (19%).

At the lower end of the scale, 15% said their dad helped them figure out how to save for retirement, and just 13% said he offered advice on getting a credit card.

1 in 2 say their father helped them develop good financial habits

Even though respondents’ were a little more likely to turn to their mothers for money advice, half still said their father helped them develop strong financial habits.

Half of those questioned agreed that their dad helped them establish good practices in dealing with money, including 28% who “strongly agreed” with that statement.

Meanwhile, most of the fathers surveyed said they planned to pass down their financial wisdom, with 57% intending to teach their children about money using some of the same strategies their own fathers taught them.

So, what were these fatherly gems? Here are some of the top lessons that stuck out:

  It’s important to save something from every paycheck, even if it’s only $1.

  Saving for the future may not be exciting and rewarding now, but it will make life easier and more rewarding when you’re older.

  Never lend money you can’t afford to lose if it’s not paid back.

  Don’t buy more than you can afford, and always pay off your credit card monthly.

  Keep track of what you spend.

If you’re looking to learn more about managing your money, you can ask your father — but also check out our own advice on how to make a budget to pay off debt and reach your financial goals.



LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to field an online survey of 2,050 U.S. consumers, conducted May 7-14, 2021. The survey was administered using a non-probability-based sample, and quotas were implemented to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

We defined generations as the following ages (in 2021):

  • Generation Z: 18 to 24
  • Millennials: 25 to 40
  • Generation X: 41 to 55
  • Baby boomer: 56 to 75

While the survey also included respondents from the silent generation (defined as those 76 and older), the sample size was too small to include findings related to this group in the generational breakdowns.