As with every generation, Gen Z’s financial needs and approaches differ from their predecessors. Gen Z watched their parents struggle through the Great Recession and are now looking for opportunities that offer better job security. They also grew up with access to the internet and social media, where they learned about the mistakes made by older generations and had access to education on every subject, including finances. Still, there are areas where Gen Z struggles.
Who Is Gen Z?
Generation Z, or Gen Z for short, is the group of people born between 1997 to 2012. They are the first social generation to grow up with internet access and easily accessible digital technology from a young age. Gen Z adults range from age 18 to 25 and are just beginning their financial journey.
They’re just starting their journey toward financial independence, but Gen Z’s financial literacy is much higher than other generations at their age. Gen Z’s financial habits differ from other generations, as watching their parents struggle through the Great Recession has taught them the value of saving. Many of them save up to a third of their income.
Over half of Gen Z has also already made some kind of investment. Of those who have invested, 26% have put money into the stock market. Though many Gen Zers have made investments, only one in four of them claim they can confidently explain to someone how their investment works.
Gen Z is still big on investing, despite a lack of financial confidence. More than half of Gen Zers have made an investment. Gen Z is especially interested in new financial investment technologies. One in ten Gen Z investors owns NFTs, while nearly a quarter of them have invested in both stocks and cryptocurrencies. However, although many are involved in the cryptocurrency market, Gen Zers say they know very little about cryptocurrency.
Gen Z investors with little knowledge often invest in cryptocurrency and NFTs because they hear that people are making money and feel confident about investing. But, without the proper knowledge, it’s easy to take on too much risk too quickly.
Social Sources of Financial Information
Social media has provided many learning opportunities for Gen Z, including financial literacy. Once a scarce asset, financial literacy was reserved only for those who could afford it. Thanks to digital media, it’s now available and easily accessible to everyone. YouTube, in particular, has become popular among Gen Z for money advice and financial education. TikTok and internet searches are also popular sources of financial information, as well as conversations with family and friends.
Because there’s so much financial data readily available, Gen Z must conduct additional research before taking investment and other financial advice. This includes background checks on their information sources.
Even with the large amounts of readily available information, gaps remain in Gen Z’s financial literacy. Many Gen Zers have expressed concerns about taxes and claim they’re the No. 1 financial skill they want to learn. Other significant concerns include saving, borrowing, and debt management. Below is a more in-depth look at Gen Z’s personal finance concerns.
One possible reason for Gen Z’s interest in taxes is the widespread belief that they won’t have access to Social Security when they retire. Many believe they’ll see a time when Social Security no longer exists. Another reason for the tax interest may be the number of Gen Zers who want to start their own business, which can cause tax complications.
Millennials and Gen Z saw the most significant debt growth in 2020, making it another big concern. The most significant source of debt concern is student loans. Gen Z is among the most educated generations, which means larger student loan debt. Along with this, Gen Z saw the largest increase in personal loan and mortgage debt.
Though more than half of Gen Z members have already invested in the stock market, many don’t understand investing and managing risk well. Roughly 32% of Gen Z say their fear of losing money is holding them back from investing, while 22% who haven’t invested say they aren’t doing so because the market is untrustworthy.
Gen Z Financial Needs
Gen Z is generally more financially literate than previous generations at their age. However, many of them may be moving too fast and trying to do too much on their own. Access to so much information can cause a false sense of security because you can find anything you want about financial planning on the internet. Still, the internet can’t build a personal finance plan. The best thing to do is look at your financial needs, determine where you are now, and get help to create a strategy for where you plan to go.
Education is the best way for Gen Z to adjust habits and take control of their finances, but finding the right source can be difficult. Financial institutions are excellent sources of education for young investors. If you’re a financial institution looking for the best way to educate young investors, BMA can help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you provide better services and education for your customers.