The financial future looks bleak for a lot of Gen Z, who face an impending recession, student loan debt, and over-all exhaustion.
The current state of the job market has made it incredibly difficult for the Class of 2023 to find jobs, in part due to mass layoffs and hiring freezes in tech. According to a recent survey published by McKinsey & Company, Gen Z reported unusually high patterns of unstable employment when compared to all other generations. They also found that younger respondents are more likely to work multiple jobs or do independent work, and that 45 percent are concerned about the stability of their employment.
Despite emergency relief from student loans, the COVID-19 pandemic required Gen Z to dip into their savings. Bankrate reported that 46 percent of Gen Z — more than any other age group — had less emergency savings now, as compared to before the pandemic. The Federal Student Aid office recently reminded borrowers that the emergency relief is ending soon, with loan interest resuming on September 1st, and payments due starting in October.
Thinking ahead, Gen Z isn't confident that they'll ever see returns from Social Security when they retire. This lack of confidence isn't unfounded; Social Security Administration expects trust fund reserves to become exhausted by 2037. Intuit reported that 2 in 3 Gen Z respondents are not sure whether they'll ever even have enough money for retirement. 23 percent of Gen Z doesn't expect to retire at all, and 59 percent of those ages 18 to 24 do not even expect to own a home, according to McKinsey & Company.
Gen Z respondents also told McKinsey which circumstances most affected their ability to perform well in the workplace. 26 percent of Gen Z reported a hostile work environment, and said that their pay does not allow them a good quality of life. They also struggle with access to transportation, mental and physical health issues, and unstable housing, among other issues.
With a slew of financial hardships, younger generations often need to turn to their parents. Experian survey found that 77 percent of Gen Z and millenials are still dependent on their parents for money, and many reported feeling ashamed when they have to ask their parents for support.
Now, with uncertain prospects, Gen Z has turned to prioritizing their present wellbeing. Intuit reported that 3 in 4 Gen Z respondents are hesitant to set up long-term financial goals because of the current state of the economy. Additionally, 73 percent said they prioritize quality of life over having extra money. 63 percent of Experian's Gen Z respondents said that they prefer to spend money on life experiences, like traveling and concerts, instead of saving for retirement.
It's no wonder that trends like quiet-quitting and radical rest have gained popularity, especially when so many Gen Z professionals face burnout. Gen Z doesn't believe they'll catch a break otherwise.