Sep 10 2019
When we ask young consumers how they feel about money, “optimistic” and “fortunate” are the top responses—but “worried” and “nervous” follow closely behind. Almost a quarter say that they’re overwhelmed by finances, more than those who say that they are confident or knowledgeable. The majority of both Gen Z and Millennials tell us that they’re interested in learning how to improve their financial situation—and it’s not a surprise. Both groups have been seriously impacted by the recession, and with Millennials delaying major life milestones because of their financial instability and Gen Z being more concerned about money at a younger age because of the economic hardships they witnessed growing up. Now, rumblings of another recession on the horizon have young consumers turning to dark humor to cope with their concerns.
In our most recent personal finance survey, 56% of Gen Z and 51% of Millennials told YPulse they’re worried they’ll never meet their financial goals. To understand more about their financial stresses, we asked, “What is your biggest financial worry right now?” These are their top responses, painting a portrait of both young consumers’ economic priorities, and the top financial issues keeping them up at night:
Their Biggest Financial Worries
Saving is the top financial worry of young consumers overall, and 91% of Gen Z and 95% of Millennials agree that saving money is important to them. But their worry about savings encompasses a large range of issues. Some are concerned about living paycheck-to-paycheck, with one 32-year-old female explaining she worries that she’ll “never be able to save money.” Others are worried about saving up for something specific, including cars, college tuition, homes, starting a business, starting a family, retirement, and for Millennial parents, paying for their children’s education. Young consumers are clearly trying to plan for their futures, with many are trying to save, but many are worried that they won’t reach their goal.
Debt and student loans are number two and three on the ranking, and undoubtedly impeding their ability to save. But their specific concerns vary significantly depending on age. Gen Z is most likely to be worried about immediate concerns, including college tuition, while Millennials are more worried about their future savings and paying off their debts:
The age group of 13-24-year-olds is most worried about college tuition—with textbooks and housing being mentioned as well. It’s evident here that as they age up, those college tuition worries will morph into student debt worries. Older Millennials are the only group with buying a house in their top five worries. Notably, those worried about being able to buy a house outnumbered those worried about paying a mortgage, highlighting again the milestones that this group has delayed.
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