A whole lot of us, myself included, fit into the category of Generation Z. Whether you’re 25 years old or halfway through fifth grade at age 10, you can claim the Gen Z title. We’re the first generation to grow up with social media and smartphones as part of our everyday life. While some people see that as a negative, one can’t help but admit it is a free stream of unlimited education. How is Gen Z embracing the power of knowledge?
This generation, more than others, is experiencing new things and new parts of life. For the older portion of Gen Z, that includes learning about money management and finances. While it may seem intimidating, understanding one’s full financial picture is actually empowering.
Personal finance involves much more than investing in stocks and bonds. It includes any debt you have, any assets, your job, your personal goals, and many other pieces. Did you just get into college or pick your major? That’s great. Now’s the time to begin thinking about a career path, income potential, and how your future could look. Did you just start your first job? Congratulations. What benefits does your employer offer?
Something I consistently see happening in Gen Z young adults is living beyond their means. Having fun and doing things you enjoy are crucial to being happy. At the same time, it’s important to consider the things that are not as fun yet are just as important to maintaining happiness in the long-term. For example, an emergency fund may not seem fun or exciting, but it’s an important thing to construct when getting started in life. A good target is setting aside three-to-six months of your expenses, so you don’t have to worry about money if (and, more likely, when) something unplanned happens.
On the positive side, a common trait among Gen Z is inquisitiveness and continuous learning. Friends often ask me about different things they can do with their money and for money management tips in general. That curiosity and eagerness to discover is admirable.
In many ways, our generation is just getting started. The journey is long, and we all have a lot to learn. Let’s enjoy the ride.