Every other day, we hear interesting stories about Gen Zs. Gen Zs are known to be ambitious and good at creating boundaries, but does that apply to their finances?
Gen Zs are the first generation to fully experience the use of technology like smartphones and the unique exposure the internet offers. As the financial landscape continues to evolve faster than ever before, Gen Z needs to understand personal finance and how they can make informed decisions to ensure that they are well-prepared to navigate their finances and build wealth.
Gen Z and Financial Literacy
Gen Z is often referred to as digital natives because they have grown up in a world saturated with technology. From smartphones to social media, Gen Z is comfortable with digital tools, and that has significantly shaped their communication styles, behaviour, and how they access information. This digital fluency has made access to financial education fast and easy.
Gen Z has shown an early passion for entrepreneurship and self-employment. Many Gen Zs are open to exploring alternative income streams, such as freelance work or starting their businesses. This makes them open to exploring financial education like learning about budgeting for startups, managing business finances, or understanding how gigs work.
Gen Z often seeks independent and self-directed learning experiences. They are more likely to turn to the internet for information, and they value the ability to learn at their own pace, which can affect what they are learning and how much they are willing to learn at a time.
Gen Z faces a unique set of financial challenges, including battling inflation, the high cost of rent, a competitive job market, etc. These challenges should be addressed in financial education programs to provide practical guidance for navigating these obstacles.
Some Gen Z individuals exhibit a desire to start saving and investing at a younger age than previous generations. This approach to financial planning should be encouraged and nurtured. Having access to financial education on topics like opening a savings account, understanding compound interest, and exploring basic investment strategies are the first steps to financial success.
Gen Z is increasingly concerned with achieving a work-life balance. They prioritize flexibility in their career choices, valuing experiences and well-being alongside financial success. That explains why there is a need for financial education that emphasizes the importance of balancing financial goals with personal fulfilment while maintaining a healthy relationship with money.
Why Financial Literacy Matters
- Building a secure future: Financial literacy is not just about managing your day-to-day expenses but also planning for major life events, such as buying a house, starting a family, or retiring comfortably. Gen Z needs to understand the power of saving, investing, and budgeting from an early age to achieve these long-term financial goals.
- Avoiding debt traps: High levels of debt can be a cause for concern for many Gen Z. By gaining a better understanding of personal finance, you can make informed decisions and avoid the pitfalls of excessive debt. Financial literacy equips you to manage your money wisely, steering clear of lending practices that are harmful to you.
- Economic empowerment: Financial literacy also empowers people to participate in the economy more actively. Understanding how investments, loans, and interest rates work can help you make informed decisions and even influence economic policies through voting and advocacy.
- Enhancing decision-making skills: Financial literacy helps you make good decisions and to evaluate various financial options. It allows you to make informed choices when it comes to investments, insurance, and major purchases. You can also assess the risks and benefits associated with different financial decisions, ultimately leading to better choices that align with your long-term goals.
- Preparing for emergencies: Life is unpredictable, and emergencies can come up at any moment. Whether it’s a medical expense, a car repair, or a job loss, having a solid understanding of financial concepts helps you to prepare for these unexpected events. Financial literacy encourages the creation of emergency funds and risk management strategies, ensuring you have a safety net in place to weather challenging times without resorting to debt.
- Building generational wealth: Financial literacy is the pathway to building wealth and generational wealth. It enables you to capitalize on investment opportunities, plan for retirement, and understand the importance of long-term financial sustainability. By making good financial decisions early on, you can create a legacy that not only benefits you but also future generations, breaking the cycle of financial instability and generational poverty that plague many families.
Tips for Boosting Financial Literacy
- Start with the basics: To build a strong foundation, you should begin by understanding basic financial concepts like budgeting, saving, investing, compound interest, retirement planning, etc. There are numerous online resources like the Cowrywise blog available that can help.
- Set clear financial goals: Whether it’s paying off debt, saving for a gadget or rent, or building an emergency fund, having clear objectives can help you stay on track.
- Create a budget: Budgeting is a fundamental skill that everyone should develop. It helps track your income and expenses, making it easier to stick to a budget and not mismanage your money.
- Maximize technology: As a Gen Z, your affinity for technology can be an advantage to your financial literacy. Fintech apps provide easy and accessible ways to save and invest, while financial tracking apps can help keep your spending in check.
- Stay informed: Financial markets and regulations are constantly changing. Staying informed through news sources, podcasts, and blogs like Cowrywise or Investopedia can help you make informed financial decisions.
Resources for Gen Z to Improve Financial Literacy
- Online courses: Platforms like Coursera, edX, and Khan Academy offer free or low-cost courses in personal finance and investing.
- Books: “Ope’s Money Diary” by Cowrywise, “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, “The Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel, and “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey are excellent reads for financial education.
- Podcasts: “The Dave Ramsey Show,” “Afford Anything,” and “BiggerPockets Money” are podcasts that cover a range of personal finance topics.
- YouTube: Channels like “Cowrywise”, “The Financial Diet” and “Graham Stephan” provide engaging and informative content on budgeting, saving, and investing.
- Wealth management apps: Financial technology has made building wealth and gaining financial literacy easy and accessible. Cowrywise is your go-to savings and investment platform and you can also get an array of financial education at the tips of your fingers.
Financial literacy is a vital life skill that everyone including Gen Z must master to secure their financial future. There are a lot of resources and strategies available to help you build financial knowledge and start your journey to financial freedom. Ignorance is no bliss. The more you know, the easier it is to make informed decisions that will positively affect your financial journey. Also, it is not enough to know, put your knowledge to work by saving and investing. Building wealth takes time.