The top 3 financial stressors affecting Gen Z. Gen Z is both the youngest and largest generation in the U.S., and they are beginning to enter the workforce with a whole host of unique financial stressors.

Generation Z — the generation immediately following Millennials — is the latest group entering the workforce, but work and money are already at the top of their list of stressors. According to the American Psychological Association, 81 percent of Gen Z adults are stressed about money, a staggering number compared to the 64 percent of all other adults who are similarly stressed.  

Gen Zers are eager to reach their financial goals and have clear plans for the future, but a lack of financial literacy, the overwhelming burden of student loan debt and overspending are all holding this young generation back. Take a deeper look at the top financial stressors affecting Gen Z below.

Gen Z Needs Financial Literacy 

In a study by EVERFI, only 33 percent of Gen Zers felt prepared to manage their money. The same study shows that this generation has a lack of knowledge regarding their personal finances: 9 in 10 have had experiences with a checking account, but less than 60 percent checked their bank account in the past year and only 40 percent have ever created or used a budget.

Unsurprisingly, these lackluster money management skills stem from an absence of financial literacy education for the youngest generation entering college and subsequently, the workforce. 

Student Loan Debt Stress

The total student loan debt in the U.S. has reached nearly $1.6 trillion, making debt a pressing concern for all Americans, but particularly for those who are in college or recently graduated: Gen Z. Of the class of 2018, 7 in 10  took out student loans to cover their education, with an average debt of $29,800, according to research by Student Loan Hero. 

With the cost of college continuing to rise, the student debt crisis is only worsening and a report by Brookings predicts more borrowers will default on their loans. As a result, over 40 percent of Gen Zers now identify student loan debt as a significant source of stress in a survey by Lifeworks. 

Gen Z Overspending 

Research by  EVERFI found that 10 percent of Gen Zers buy things they can’t afford, and four in 10 don’t stop spending when resources are low.

Staggeringly high debt and a lack of financial education both contribute to this last Gen Z financial stressor — overspending paired with undersaving. One-third of Gen Zers reported feeling stressed about poor spending habits. The spending, paired with increasing debt, directly links to a lack of savings: almost 20 percent are not putting anything towards their savings each month.  

This financial stress affects workers’ productivity and increases healthcare costs, hurting both employees and employers. Financial wellness programs like Best Money Moves can help. Best Money Moves is mobile, gamified and easy-to-use, with an emphasis on financial literacy and accessible tools that’s perfect for Gen Z. It provides practical, unbiased help so employees can make smarter financial decisions and manage the debt they have. 

More on Financial Stress and Financial Wellness Programs

5 Must-Have Benefits for Millennial Employees

How Does Financial Wellness Affect Health?

5 Fast Financial Stress Statistics

Hiring Trends to Watch in 2020

What Is Financial Literacy and Why Is It Important?

4 Big Employee Benefit Trends for Family Planning

How Can Financial Wellness Be Improved?

Top 10 Employee Benefits for 2020


If you want to learn more about how Best Money Moves can bring financial wellness to your company visit us at Success Connect in Las Vegas this September 15th-19th. Join Best Money Moves founder and CEO Ilyce Glink’s session “Transform the Employee Experience by Reducing Financial Stress and Improving Financial Well-Being” on Wednesday, September 18th at 1:00 p.m.

Then, you can find us in booth #2550 at HR Tech this October 1st-4th and listen to Ilyce Glink’s speech “Employee Financial Stressors by Generation and How to Help at Every Stage” on Thursday, October 3rd from 1:10-2:00 p.m. in the Expo Room.