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'Gen Z' Already Concerned About Finances

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They may not have their first full-time job or a college diploma yet, but make no mistake about it; Generation Z is very much concerned about their financial situation. That’s the finding of a new survey which examined the top financial and economic concerns of Gen Z, or those between the ages of 13 and 22.

In that research, it was found that 39 percent of Gen Z respondents were most worried about how to afford college without taking on a mountain of student loan debt.  One-quarter of respondents said they are also worried about the economic situation, in particular jobs and unemployment.

It is not a surprise that this generation is worried about those issues, especially considering the fact that a majority of respondents said they have seen their parents struggle with the same issues. In fact, 58 percent of Gen Z parents said they had taken out student loans to pay for college and 43 percent were still paying them back.  Additionally, parents shared the same economic concerns about the economy as their children.

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“Increased tuition costs and a bleak job outlook may be a cause for concern to some Gen Z teenagers, young adults and their parents, but being proactive and coming up with a savings strategy early on can help ease some of these financial anxieties,” said Carrie Braxdale, managing director of investor services at TD Ameritrade Inc., which conducted the research.

Although Gen Z seems to be focused on their financial situation, the research also found they are not necessarily practicing what they preach. Three-quarters of respondents said that saving money is important to them and 41 percent said they had a budget that they followed closely. Despite that, 56 percent said they have carried a balance on their credit card for more than six months and more than 40 percent of respondents ages 16 to 18 did not have a checking or savings account that could help them learn money management skills. 

The solution to this may be as simple as parents having discussions with their children about money.  According to the research, respondents who had discussions with their parents about saving were better budgeters than those who did not.

"We found that parents are still the most influential variable when it comes to educating children on basic financial skills," Braxdale said. "Parents who work with their children early to develop a financial plan and clearly set financial expectations can help better prepare them for financial success later in life."

The research was based on the responses of 1,001 respondents born between 1990 and 1999 and 1,000 respondents who have children between the ages of 13 and 22. The research was conducted by Head Research for TD Ameritrade.

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