Gen Zers Are Fairly Optimistic About Their Financial Future

Among younger Americans, 38% expect to be better off financially than their parents and 43% believe they’ll fare the same
November 17, 2022 at 5:00 am UTC

Despite coming of age during a period of skyrocketing housing costs, ballooning prices for necessities and growing price tags for college tuition, a new Morning Consult survey finds that Gen Zers — those ages 13 to 25 — are still optimistic about their financial future, with 4 in 5 expecting that they will do as well or better financially than their parents.

4 in 5 Gen Zers Believe They Will Be at Least as Financially Successful as Their Parents

Generation Z respondents were asked how they think they will fare financially over the course of their lifetime compared to their parents
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Survey conducted Nov. 2-8, 2022, among a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. respondents between the ages of 13 and 25, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

For Americans between the ages of 13 and 25, most expect a future of upward mobility

  • The majority of Gen Zers expect to do at least as well as their parents financially, with roughly 1 in 5 expecting to be worse off.
  • Respondents of color were more optimistic about their financial future than their white counterparts: 46% of Black Gen Zers expect to do better than their parents, followed by other races/ethnicities (44%), Hispanics (42%) and whites (35%). 
  • Male and female Gen Zers were about as likely to say they expect to perform as well or better financially than their parents.

As younger Gen Zers step into adulthood, optimism about finances, U.S. economy remains buoyant 

While every generation tends to think they have had a rougher time in life than previous generations, Gen Zers really may have it “uphill both ways” as they face adulthood constrained by growing costs for housing, education and necessities like food and gasoline, coupled with with lower confidence in their ability to pay their bills compared to their peers and more tenuous job prospects

Gen Zers also enter the workforce saddled with more student loan debt than their peers, adding pricey loan payments to their monthly budget. And they may also be relying increasingly on short-term financing, such as buy now pay later services, siphoning away even more of their monthly income to debt payments

Despite multiple financial hurdles and a tumultuous economy, Gen Z’s comparatively high optimism extends to their own financial well-being as well as to the broader economy. 

The latest data from Morning Consult’s Financial Well-Being Scale shows that for most of 2022, Gen Zers have maintained a more positive sentiment about their personal financial well-being than their Gen X or millennial peers. 

And Gen Zers are more optimistic about the broader U.S. economy as well: In a November survey ahead of the midterm elections, Gen Z voters were more generous when it came to grading the U.S. economy, with 54% giving grades of A, B or C. That compares to 49% of millennials, 44% of baby boomers and 38% of Gen Xers. 

That same survey may chip away at the argument that Gen Zers, who may still be living with parents or roommates, are shielded from the full picture about the financial brunt of independent adult life. About 7 in 10 Gen Z adults said they were either very or somewhat familiar with their household finances, while roughly 3 in 10 said they were either somewhat or very unfamiliar. That compares to 9 in 10 adults overall who said they were familiar with their household finances, and 1 in 10 who said they were not. 

The Nov. 2-8, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. respondents between the ages of 13 and 25, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Amanda Jacobson Snyder previously worked at Morning Consult as a data reporter covering finance.

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