It's estimated that Gen Z will outnumber any other generation by 2034, peaking at 78 million. And, with numbers like that, they're bound to impact the job market as they enter the workforce in the coming years to make hard-earned money. Which means, they'll need to learn how to spend (and save) this money.
To understand their current financial situation better, as well as their outlook on the economy and their future goals, we decided to survey more than 500 Gen Zers about everything money. Let's see how this generation, which grew up in the time of the 2008 recession and is joining the workforce on the heels of a global pandemic, feels when it comes to money.
Money in the Bank
When asked which financial items they had, 70% of Gen Z reported having a debit card and 57% a savings account. But a majority of them are still figuring out their finances, with only 19% reporting that they invest their money and nearly 80% still relying on a family member to cover their housing costs.
While a good chunk of our respondents relied on parents or other family for these costs as well as the additional bills that come along with living (e.g., internet, utilities, and groceries), 47% reported paying their own cellphone bill. That makes this cost the one most likely to be covered by this generation. Considering Gen Z spends a good amount of their income on dining out, mobile devices, and transportation, it's not surprising to see them relying on others for help with the essentials.
While we understand that Gen Z is young and still earning their independence, their outlook on their own financial future and the country as a whole could be what's impacting their decisions.
With only 19% of Gen Zers starting to invest their money, seeing only 1 in 5 of them as feeling financially secure makes sense. And, nearly 70% are concerned for their financial well-being. When looking at what matters to them most, becoming financially independent is what an overwhelming number of them were aiming for. With 78% still relying on someone to pay for their housing, taking this over for themselves could lead to less reliance on family for help. Saving for the future and acquiring assets like a car and a house were also important for Gen Z, while paying off debts weren't as vital. Considering Gen Z's debt jumped 67.2% from 2019 to 2020, this should be an item they start to prioritize, as increasing debt will hinder their ability to gain the financial independence they seek.
Their general outlook, though? Pretty pessimistic with 70% reporting the government should do more to solve problems. Regardless of their ideology, 46% of Gen Z reported the country is heading in the wrong direction financially. From the economy and jobs to the pandemic and health care, Gen Z was not confident in this country's leadership.
It's a Hard Knock Life
Gen Z is still young and not fully immersed into the workforce yet. Seventy-three percent of our respondents reported still being a student, and only a small percentage of these were working. In fact, 15% reported working full time, and 18% reported working part time. But while they're working and earning money, 1 in 5 Gen Zers are still accumulating debt.
As we saw above, the majority of Gen Z has a negative outlook on the future of the economy they're dealing with. Liberal Gen Zers (61%) were the least optimistic, while conservatives (43%) had the most optimism.
While they have a not-so-bright outlook on the global economy, 76% were optimistic they have the ability to do better than their parents did. However, many of their Gen X parents grew up to be more financially independent than they are and remain focused on their independence and financial self-sufficiency.
Learning the Lingo
Since their Gen X parents grew up in a more financially self-sufficient time, they have a lot of knowledge to impart on their children financially. While 74% of Gen Z said they learned about money from their parents, 61% reported learning through online research. At a slightly lesser rate than learning from parents or online, 37% got their money facts from social media. Hello, meme stocks. But, even with all of these options at their disposal, only 63% of Gen Z reported feeling financially literate.
Are budgets part of Gen Z's financial literacy? For the most part, considering only 14% reported not having one, and 18% reported only taking their budget slightly seriously. Still, 37% reported taking their budget extremely or very seriously as they work on doing better than their parents did.
It's All About the Money
So we've seen that Gen Z is still young and figuring things out financially. Perhaps it could be their gloomy outlook on the economy and the government that's driving them to rely on their parents and families for expenses. But still, they believe in themselves and their ability to do better than their parents.
Whether you're a Gen Zer trying to navigate the financial world or a Gen Xer looking to save a few dollars while supporting your kids (and probably your older parents, too), CouponChief can help you. We have thousands of coupons for stores covering the necessities, like food and toiletries, all the way to luxury items for when you just want to treat yourself. Head to couponchief.com today to save money and get what you need at the same time.
Methodology and Limitations
We collected 525 responses from Generation Z Americans. Sixty percent of our participants identified as men, 38% identified as women, and 2% identified as nonbinary or nonconforming.15% identified as Republicans, 42% as Democrats, and 43% as Independents. It is possible with more Republican participants, we could have gained more insight into this population. Those who failed an attention-check question were disqualified.
The data we are presenting rely on self-report. There are many issues with self-reported data. These issues include, but are not limited to, the following: selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration.
Fair Use Statement
Know someone who can relate or want to push your Gen Z child in the right direction? Go for it, just make sure it's for noncommercial purposes and that you link back to the full study so they can explore all of our valuable findings.