Super Bowl LI, also known as Super Bowl 51, is set to kick off on Feb. 5, at Houston's NRG Stadium. Last year, some fans paid as much as $4,000 — and more — for tickets to see the big game. This year, Super Bowl 51 is slated to be one of the costliest NFL games to attend.
But let's say you had the opportunity to see your favorite team win the Super Bowl. Would you be willing to give up your savings or work benefits?
In this GOBankingRates.com survey, we asked Americans what they would sacrifice financially in order to see their favorite NFL team win the Super Bowl. Respondents could choose from four answers:
- Give up your vacation days for one year
- Give up your annual bonus
- Give up your 401k
- Give up the total amount in your savings account
The results provide insight into Americans' values and views on money, savings, retirement and work. Below are the key highlights from the survey — read on to find out what people are willing to give up to see their Super Bowl team win.
Most People Would Sacrifice Vacation Days for a Super Bowl Win
Generally speaking, vacation days are probably the "cheapest" sacrifices out of all the answer choices. Perhaps that's why a majority of respondents would rather give up their vacation over earning more money or sacrificing their savings to see their team win the Super Bowl.
Here's the full data set from our survey:
- 52% of respondents said they'd give up their vacation days for one year
- 31% of respondents said they'd give up their annual bonus
- 14% of respondents said they'd give up the total amount in their savings account
- 3% of respondents said they'd give up their 401k
The results beg the question: Do Americans really value their time off? In this survey, 52 percent of all respondents said they would forgo a year's worth of vacation days in order to see their favorite NFL team win the Super Bowl. But within some age groups, as much as 75 percent of respondents would sacrifice vacation.
Americans wasted 658 million vacation days in 2015, according to Project: TimeOff. In fact, they only took 16.2 days of vacation that year versus a multi-decade average of 20.3 vacation days.
Perhaps people aren't taking as many vacation days in an attempt to make more money. If so, their reasoning might be misguided. The Project: TimeOff study found that people who took off fewer vacation days were less likely to earn a raise or bonus. Plus, many Americans also work through vacation days that cannot be redeemed. And Project: TimeOff calculated that the value of these days comes to $61.4 billion in forfeited benefits.
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Younger Millennials More Willing to Give Up Savings — Including Retirement
Considering the fact that more than two-thirds of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, one would hope respondents wouldn't choose to give up their savings just to see their team win Super Bowl 51. But, younger millennials are more willing to give up the money in their savings account compared to other age groups. They're also more willing to give up their 401k.
These results are hardly surprising. After all, people in the 18 to 24 age group likely haven't had enough time to build up their savings. So, while someone approaching retirement might have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved, a millennial might just have a few thousand. In fact, GOBankingRates' most recent savings survey found millennials are significantly behind on their savings compared to other age groups.
In fact, 41 percent of young millennials responded that they have less than $1,000 tucked away in savings versus only 29 percent of seniors ages 65 and over. And while only 8 percent of young millennials had $10,000 or more saved, 23 percent of seniors had that much set aside.
When it comes to retirement savings, the results are similar. About 40 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 34) don't have retirement savings compared to approximately 30 percent of adults ages 35 to 54. With these findings in mind, no wonder millennials are more likely to give up their savings and retirement for Super Bowl 51 versus other age groups.
Other interesting age insights from this survey include:
- The vast majority (75%) of respondents aged 65 and older said they'd give up vacation days for one year to see their team win.
- Younger millennials are least likely (18%) to give up their annual bonus, followed by older Gen Xers (19%) and seniors (25%).
- Those 65 and over are least likely (0%) to give up the total amount in their savings account, likely because they're in retirement and rely on their savings as a nest egg in addition to their 401k savings.
Women More Likely to Give Up Savings, Men More Likely to Ditch 401k
Among the female and male answer choices, responses are statistically not that significant — although there are some notable gaps in percentages:
- Nearly half (48%) of male respondents said they'd sacrifice vacation days for one year — but even more female respondents (57%) would do the same.
- More male respondents (35%) would give up their annual bonus than female respondents (26%) in order to see their team win the Super Bowl.
- A smaller percentage of female respondents (2%) would sacrifice their 401k than male respondents (4%).
- More women (15%) are willing to give up the total amount in their savings account than men (13%).
Why is there a larger gap between men and women when it comes to vacation days and bonuses? It's difficult to say what these discrepancies imply. For example, though a gender pay gap clearly exists in the U.S., it might be too much of an assumption to argue that fewer women want to sacrifice their annual bonus because of less pay.
It's interesting that more women would give up their savings, especially considering they're more behind on saving when compared to men. GOBankingRates' savings survey found a greater percentage (42 percent) of women have $0 in savings versus only 28 percent of men. Women are also more behind on their retirement savings, according to the results from our retirement savings survey. The retirement survey found nearly 40 percent of women don't have a retirement nest egg compared to only 30 percent of men. Yet, men are more willing to give up their 401k than women to see their favorite team win the Super Bowl.
Nonetheless, both men and women seem to understand the importance of saving for retirement: Overall, both genders are less likely to give up their 401k over the total amount in their savings to see their favorite team win Super Bowl 51. In fact, giving up retirement savings was also the least popular choice overall for all respondents, regardless of gender.
Among both men and women, giving up vacation days was the go-to answer. The overall willingness to sacrifice vacation days seems to fall in line with a common criticism of the U.S. by foreigners: Americans are work-obsessed and overworked.
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Methodology: This GOBankingRates.com survey posed the question, "What would you give up to see your favorite NFL team win the Super Bowl?" to 100 people among all 50 states and Washington, DC. Responses were collected through a Survata survey conducted on Dec. 27, 2016, and responses are representative of the U.S. online population.