The War on Gen Z – Financial Independence


Mia Miller

Gen Z Patriot High School student, Ravnoor Munjal, discusses after-school activities in a classroom with her teacher Ms. Frame.

There are many assumptions people make about Gen Z regarding their independence and work ethic, mostly based around stereotypes and baseless accusations. The truth about them, however, is found in research and investigation: detailed statistics about financial knowledge, buying their own houses and cars, and their faults and victories.

One of the first things needed to properly assess Generation Z is to investigate the rate at which they are moving out and leaving home and compare this to other generations previous. A statistic that is particularly revealing is a poll conducted online by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Daily Pay: fifty-four percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 choose to live at home due to the “current economic climate”.

Additionally, a Pew Research study from 2020 is also able to investigate things of this nature a little further: during the period of time when the country was in economic turmoil due to COVID, there were more 18–29-year-olds living with their parents than during the Great Depression.

Now admittedly, as the aftereffects of COVID lessen, it can be very difficult to tell whether Gen Z is staying home because of difficulty paying the bills and living on their own or pure laziness.

To investigate further, Kimberly Buford, an Independent Living teacher at Patriot High School, shared her thoughts about the current situation with Gen Z.

When asked about how COVID affects this generation, she replied, “One of the bigger issues that a lot of them have is the finances that they thought they were going to have were not there when the pandemic hit. What ended up happening is a lot of people lost their jobs… everything shut down, especially things like restaurants… [places] teenagers, young people would normally have to make money.”

Furthermore, Buford also said that the digital world along with COVID may have an affect on Gen Z’s work ethic, consequently messing with their financial independence: “…because they were babysat by the iPad, and because they never really had to learn how to do a lot of things outside of using the computer. When it come to work ethic, it’s really- I’m not going to say it’s completely  non-existent, but it’s very challenging.”

In addition to that, it is also crucial to consult conflicting publications to better investigate this topic. According to SIRS Issues Researcher a report from FEEGA claims that Gen Z is stepping into financial independence but lacks the confidence, depth of understanding, and knowledge of investing and economic opportunities compared to older generations. Despite this, Gen Z has still displayed a large interest in investing, with 54% holding investments of some kind, ranging from stocks, cryptocurrencies, and NFTS: the eagerness to be involved in the economy proves to be something they excel in.

However, while these are all strengths, weaknesses do exist. Gen Z is a lot less knowledgeable about the economy and finance in general, which is something needed to become fully independent and buy a house or residence, a car, and other necessities for adulthood.

While all of these are things that Gen Z suffers from or excels in, the real question is: are they lazy and entitled? Or is it because of economic turmoil?