73% of Gen Z Say Economic Environment Has Made it More Challenging to Save; 75% Seeking Ways to Earn Additional Income
As Gen Z looks to establish their financial footing, the economic environment and inflation have posed new challenges in achieving their financial goals. This is according to new research published today by Bank of America's Better Money Habits exploring this generation’s (ages 18 to 25) distinct approach to money – including their financial priorities, behaviors and challenges. With Gen Z being far more diverse than previous generations, the new research also examines ways in which race, ethnicity and gender may influence their financial priorities and challenges.
According to 73% of Gen Z, the current economic environment has made it more challenging to save. They feel inflation has made it harder to save for financial goals (59%) and pay down debt (43%) and has created more financial stress (56%) in their lives. Forty percent also say surging rents or home prices have made it challenging to afford day-to-day necessities. According to The Bank of America Institute, younger consumers are getting squeezed the most by higher rent inflation, with median rent payments up 16% year over year in July for Gen Z, compared to just 3% for Baby Boomers.
Gen Z isn’t taking inflation and the higher cost of living sitting down. Currently, 75% of Gen Z are taking or considering steps to earn additional income including: changing jobs (34%), turning a passion into a source of income (31%), taking on a second job (26%) or even a job they don’t like (23%).
"Gen Z is ambitious and enterprising, and taking positive actions as they join the workforce and make some of their first financial and career-driven decisions," said Christine Channels, Head of Community Banking and Consumer Governance at Bank of America. "Current economic and inflationary headwinds have created added challenges for many. Through our Better Money Habits platform, we're connecting these young adults to a wide range of resources and guidance designed to give them the skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed financially.”
Other key findings from the Better Money Habits research include:
The research also explored how race and gender may influence financial priorities and challenges, including the racial wealth gap. Reflecting on the last five years, about two-in-five Black/African American (41%) and Hispanic (42%) Gen Z say some or significant progress has been made to close the racial wealth gap, while others in these groups say no progress has been made (both 30%). Looking to the next five years, about half of Black/African American (47%) and Hispanic (54%) Gen Z believe some or significant progress will be made to close the gap, while others say no progress will be made (28% and 24%, respectively). Additional findings include:
“We recognize the unique financial needs across diverse and historically underserved communities,” Channels added. "The insights from this annual research help to inform how we tailor resources and guidance to empower the next generation as they embark on their financial journeys. Last year, for instance, we developed a Gen Z financial guide based on insights into the priorities, preferences and challenges of this growing client segment.”
The study was conducted June 24 - July 13, 2022, by Ipsos in both English and Spanish and is based on nationally representative probability samples of 1,098 general population adults (age 18 or older), and a partially overlapping sample of 921 Gen Z adults (age 18-25), including 124 Gen Z adults from a non-probability sample. This survey was conducted primarily using the Ipsos KnowledgePanel®, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Panelists are scientifically recruited into this invitation-only panel via postal mailings to a random selection of residential addresses. To ensure that non-internet households are included, Ipsos provides access to a tablet and internet connection to those who need them. Because of this probability-based sampling approach, KnowledgePanel findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population. The margin of sampling error for the general population sample is +/- 3.2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
At Bank of America, we’re committed to helping people lead better financial lives by equipping them with the skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed. That’s why we created Better Money Habits, a financial education platform of tools and information that helps people make sense of their money and take action to improve. As a cornerstone of Better Money Habits, we offer free financial education content and tools that break down financial topics in a way that’s approachable and easy to understand. We continually look for ways to expand the reach of Better Money Habits and also offer Spanish language resources on the site.
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Betty Riess, Bank of America