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Show Z the Money: A Generation Pursuing Financial Strength

This blog was written to help organizations better understand why they are challenged with differing generational traits. 

Our studies show that the significant disruptions and societal shifts of the past 20+ years have influenced younger members behaviors. This has affected the reasons why joining and engaging with your organization is different today.

The research findings do not apply to every single member of each generation. However, our 20 years of ongoing research findings continue to hold true – making the information valuable when drafting membership engagement and growth strategies to target younger members. 

Generation Z’s views on money and financial status are distinctly different from Millennials. This is shaping their decisions and behavior from salary levels to homeownership and leaves ample opportunity for financial institutions to get in front of and work with this generation.

The dot-com bubble burst the year I was born. When the Great Recession began, I was six. I was seven years old when the housing bubble finally popped. And today, many still live in fragile economic times.

While the United States is currently experiencing a period of economic growth, there continues to be a sense of worry. There is unrest in the political sphere that can throw financial markets off. We are reminiscent of past events and recall family members struggling during the recession.

Because of some of those factors, Gen Z places a premium on the value of financial status. We are a materialistic generation and one’s social status can depend on their socioeconomic status. Research from a case study done by start-up company FLAME shows over 75% of Gen Zs say they are motivated by money.

The value we place on money will also translate to the recruiting world. When asked what is more important in a job, 66% of Gen Z survey respondents said that finding a job with financial stability is more important than finding a job you enjoy, and a good salary is the most important factor in a job to Gen Z. This is most definitely a stark departure from Millenials, who place higher emphasis on other aspects of a job. In fact, Gen Z has learned lessons from watching Millennials struggle with student loan debt, as another common goal of ours is to be able to live debt-free. When asked about financial goals in life, some of the most common answers were along the lines of living comfortably and being able to support a family.

However, Zs are not naive to the fact that there is a lot of money to be made in today’s economy. Shows like the business-themed reality show Shark Tank have inspired young people. Business and entrepreneurship is extremely attractive to Gen Z with findings from our global survey showing 58% percent of Zs wanting to own a business one day, and 14% already do including myself. Some take their ideas to new heights including 15-year-old Moziah “Mo” Bridges, founder of Mo’s Bows. His company recently entered what may become a seven-figure licensing partnership with the NBA. Others are pitching business ideas, such as Aarushi Machavarapu’s Threading Twine, who won first place at SXSW EDU Start Up competition.

Additionally, Zs are very enamored by the stock market. Only 2% of Gen Z looks at the stock market in a negative way, while 48% of us look at it in a positive way. The remaining 50% is indifferent, which could be attributed to the fact that 3 out of 4 Gen Zs say that the education system has not provided them with adequate financial skills to succeed in life. But what’s important to understand is that the desire to learn is there, as 73% of respondents say they are interested in learning more about the stock market. And, with the rise of cryptocurrencies, Gen Z is intrigued by utilizing financial markets to create and sustain wealth.

Gen Z is a financially aware and financially sensitive group of young adults, teens and tweens. There is ample opportunity for financial institutions to get in front of this generation and prepare us to succeed in the economy. It may be providing access to capital to start or build businesses, buy a home, or providing tools to engage with the stock market. The interest is there, so those organizations who invest in Generation Z should be rewarded.

If your organization is struggling, now is the time for action. Register for our newly developed courses specifically designed to help membership organizations more effectively engage and retain members. 


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