US Generation Z Financial Behaviors

Careful Saving, Frugal Spending, and a Strong Sense of Purpose

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About This Report
Though half of Gen Z hasn’t yet reached adulthood, it’s well on its way to becoming a financial juggernaut. Here’s an overview of this generation’s unique financial attitudes and behaviors.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

After living through the one-two punch of the Great Recession and COVID-19 pandemic, Gen Zers are plagued with financial anxiety. As a result, they’ve adopted a cautious and practical approach to saving, investing, and money management. They are skeptical of traditional financial institutions, they prefer digital and mobile financial tools, and they seek investments that reflect their values and goals.

How is Gen Z’s financial behavior different from that of millennials?

Gen Z grew up watching millennials drown in student loan debt and have become highly debt averse. They’re more intentional in their spending and are more likely to have started saving for retirement at a younger age. Unlike millennials, they eschew conspicuous consumption and label consciousness in favor of utility and quality.

What percentage of Gen Zers use digital and mobile banking?

As digital natives who have never known life without the internet, Gen Zers already conduct the majority of their banking and financial business online. This year, 89.3% of Gen Zers will use online banking, and 81.4% will use mobile banking. Gen Z also shows higher adoption of fintech tools and apps than older generations.

Why is Gen Z so interested in cryptocurrency?

The fate of cryptocurrencies as mainstream payment and investment vehicles remains uncertain, but Gen Z shows high interest. Their general distrust of traditional financial institutions and concerns about government interference make crypto’s decentralized, distributed ledger (aka blockchain) structure appealing.

How does Gen Z’s quest for social justice and environmental sustainability manifest itself in financial behaviors?

Gen Zers patronize financial institutions and invest in companies that mirror their goals for sustainability, social justice, and other causes they deem important. They celebrate individuality and are more apt to champion brands that understand them and embrace their values. Though they seek high-quality products at affordable prices, they won’t hesitate to challenge or boycott organizations they perceive to be inauthentic or exploitative.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? An overview of Gen Z’s attitudes and behaviors as they relate to banking, investing, and personal finance.

KEY STAT: As Gen Zers begin to take control of their finances, they are turning to digital and mobile tools. By 2025, there will be 45.4 million Gen Z digital banking users in the US, up from 27.1 million this year.

Here’s what’s in the full report

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Key Points
  3. Anxiety and Uncertainty Drive Financial Behavior
  4. Mobile-First but Open to New Experiences
  1. Fintech Tools Reel in Gen Z
  2. A New Generation of Digital Investors
  3. Crypto Curiosity Is High
  4. Digital Payments Are Here to Stay
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

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Read This With Insider Intelligence

authors

Victoria Petrock

Contributors

Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Jennifer Pearson
VP, Research
Daniel Ramirez
Researcher, Financial Services
Lauren Ruhlen
Researcher