Survey: 76% of Gen Zers Reports Experiencing Financial Stress
mother talking to her son about credit cards

Survey: 76% of Gen Zers Reports Experiencing Financial Stress

In conjunction with Financial Literacy Month, a new survey from Greenlight highlights financial stress and other money matters among those of different generations.

About the survey:

Greenlight recently surveyed 2,310 Americans ranging from ages 10 to 59 and asked them about their financial wellness. Specifically, the survey broke respondents into general groups, including Gen Alpha kids (10 to 13-year-olds), Gen Z teens (14 to 19), Millennial parents with Gen Alpha kids (28 to 43 with kids 10 to 19), and Gen X parents of Gen Alpha kids (44 to 59 with kids 10 to 19).

First, Greenlight found that financial anxiety increased as early as age 14. More than three-quarters of Gen Z respondents reported being stressed about money, which matched the responses from Millennials and Gen Xers. This includes 60% of Gen Z teens who say they experience financial-related stress on at least a weekly basis as well as 61% of Millennials and 58% of Gen X parents who said the same. Of Gen Alpha respondents, only 31% reported experiencing financial stress. As for what was specifically stressing respondents, the top answer among Gen Zers was “gas prices” while Millennials and Gen Xers said “inflation and shrinkflation.”

Turning to more positive news, 55% of Gen Alpha kids say they are confident that they’ll be able to achieve their financial goals. Similarly, 76% of the youngest generation believe they’ll be able to save money, 74% are confident they’ll get a well-paying job, and 71% say they will be able to own a home. All three of those goals were named as top priorities across all generations.

The survey also asked about where individuals learn about finance. For both Gen Alpha and Gen Z, parents, school, and social media were the top three answers respectively. Looking more closely at the lattermost, TikTok was the most popular social media platform for financial education for Gen Z (used by 59%) followed by YouTube (51%). For Millenials, YouTube led with 50% compared to 41% for Facebook. Across all generations, 72% of those surveyed expressed concern about learning incorrect financial information on social media. Nevertheless, half of Gen Z respondents say they’ve taken financial advice from a social media influencer.

My thoughts:

While I can believe that older teens who may have part-time jobs and may be responsible for paying some of their own bills might be experiencing financial stress (I’d say I did around that age), I do wonder what Gen Alpha specifically means when they say they’ve experienced this. Maybe it’s second-hand anxiety or perhaps they’re referring to the frustration of not being able to purchase items for themselves? Elsewhere, while it’s interesting to see what Gen Alpha thinks they’ll be able to achieve in terms of financial goals, I do find it odd that Greenlight didn’t offer a complete breakdown of how these results compared to all other generations surveyed.

In any case, the moral of the story is that financial stress is real and rampant. What’s more, this stress in and of itself can derail some of the money goals that we set for ourselves. Although it will certainly not be a magic bullet, this is where greater financial literacy could be useful as it can provide children, teens, and adults the tools they need to manage their money more effectively and, in turn, reduce their financial anxieties.


Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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