Gen Z Australians – aged 18 to 26 – are the most financially stressed generation in the country, but they’re also the most willing to do more to properly manage their finances.
New research from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) found 68 per cent of Gen Z respondents cited finances as a major concern, and 82 per cent said they felt financial stress compared with Australians of other generations (57 per cent of non-Gen Zs).
The research, released on Tuesday, comes as Australians continue to battle the cost of living crisis, with the Reserve Bank last week delivering its 13th interest rate rise since May 2022, bringing the official cash rate to a 12-year high of 4.35 per cent.
ASIC also found Gen Z was in a worse financial position than other generations, with more personal debt and 25 per cent with less than $1000 in savings.
Eight per cent, representing more than 200,000 Gen Zs, have no savings at all, and 39 per cent are considering new or additional jobs in response to the cost-of-living crisis.
But the research also found Gen Z was twice as likely as non-Gen Zs to learn how to better manage their money in response to better managing their finances (44 per cent compared with 22 per cent of non-Gen Zs).
The financial pressure is compounded for those renting, with the research released the same day as an SGS Economics Rental Affordability Index report showed renters in every capital city were worse off than they were before the Covid-19 pandemic.
That report compares median rents and found Sydney was now the least-affordable city in Australia for renters, with a 13 per cent decline in affordability, compared with 2022.
ASIC chief executive Warren Day said while Gen Zs were driven to learn more about their finances, there was a clear need to engage and help them feel more confident about money.
“We want to show them that it doesn’t take a lot of time to make a start with small steps that will make big differences long term,” Mr Day said.
“Learning how to plan and save, and deal with their expenses, sets up young Aussies for their future.”
He’s encouraging Gen Zs to use Moneysmart as a starting point to learn more about money management.
“We hope this campaign, through its practical tips, will help people feel more in control of their financial lives,” Mr Day said.
The research also found Gen Z was more likely to use buy now pay later (BNPL) services like Afterpay or Zip Pay (28 per cent compared with 21 per cent of non-Gen Zs), with those in regional areas also more likely to use BNPL services (34 per cent compared with 26 per cent of Gen Zs in metro areas).