Report: What to Know About Gen Z's Relationship With Money

February 2024

Report summary

Gen Z is stressed out about their finances. So, they’re working to establish good money habits now.

They may be young, but Gen Zers’ lives have already been riddled with financial obstacles, including record high inflation and bloated education costs. These challenges are compounding concerns about housing, gas and grocery prices and many say they are only scraping by financially.

Yet, they’re optimistic for the future. More than 6 in 10 Gen Zers say they are hopeful about their financial future and a majority think they’ll do better financially than their parents. That’s because many are already saving — and investing.

Still, they wouldn’t be Gen Z if they didn’t have some behaviors that could shake up many industries, like how they want to shop online over in stores, a break from their older counterparts, and when and how they plan on retiring.

We surveyed roughly 1,000 Gen Z respondents between the ages of 13 and 26, seeking to better understand how they feel about their finances, spend money, save money and plan for the future.

Key Takeaways

  • Gen Z adults are scraping by: Roughly two in five say they’re barely scraping by (25%) or completely underwater (13%) financially.
  • Debit cards and cash are king: 37% of Gen Zers say debit cards are their primary payment method for apparel, but brands should monitor rising BNPL usage.
  • Even adult Gen Zers are dependent on their parents: A third of Gen Z adults (33%) say they receive an allowance or financial assistance from their parents.
  • Digital shopping preferences are dominant: Gen Z is the only generation that prefers online (36%) to in store (32%), and younger Gen Zers’ lack of preference is widening the gap.
  • They’re optimistic about the future: 60% of Gen Zers plan to retire at 65 years of age or younger.

Data Downloads

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Data file (Gen Z)
A sortable CSV file of survey results among Gen Z.
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Morning Consult data featured in this report draws from two separate surveys. One survey was fielded Dec. 5-9, 2023, among a representative sample of 2,218 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points; another was fielded Dec. 5-21, 2023, among a representative sample of 1,007 Gen Zers between the ages of 13 and 26, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-3 percentage points.

All survey interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults and a target sample of Gen Zers ages 13-26 based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and region.

About the author

A headshot photograph of Nicki Zink
Nicki Zink
Deputy Head of Industry Analysis

Nicki Zink is deputy head of Industry Analysis. Her team identifies trends affecting key demographics across food & beverage, travel & hospitality and financial services. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Nicki served as the head of digital intelligence at Purple Strategies, a corporate reputation and strategy firm. She graduated from Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].