Gen Z vs millennials – which is the better generation?
This is a debate that dates a decade. While some people define Gen Z as the generation that took over at the beginning of the year 2000, others argue that year ‘95 marks the ushering in of a time that belonged to Gen Z. Gen Z, the younger generation that is close to entering adulthood now has a different way of life than their ancient predecessors (sorry, the writer is Gen Z).
Whether it’s actively calling out patriarchy, being more unafraid with their fashion choices, eating watermelon with cinnamon, making money off social media apps, or taking on the world with their caffeine-induced confidence, Gen Z is doing something right in this thing called life. Notably, they are also making more sound financial decisions, grabbing onto risqué job opportunities, and starting to save early for a secure future, all the while exuding a whiff of confidence and promise.
If you’re a millennial looking to get hooked on some of the best finance lessons this K-pop-addicted generation has to give, on behalf of the Gen Z clan, I’ve got your back.
Why is Gen Z getting richer?
It’s evident that Gen Z is making great strides in achieving financial independence, but how are they doing so much better than the millennial generation that is easily as hardworking as the former?
Well, for starters, the Great Recession of 2008 was a major hit on the millennial generation. People lost jobs, went bankrupt, and got stripped of all their resources in trying to procure as little as two square meals a day. According to the Current Population Survey conducted to examine the state of the US Labor Market, in the two- year span that the recession lasted, the unemployment rate rose from 5% to a drastic 10%.
By the end of 2009, nearly 15 million people were unemployed in the US alone.
Gen Z did not have to reel from the effects of the recession. Having witnessed the economy going down in shambles, this generation is more careful in terms of risk-taking. Not only is Gen Z averse to making huge financial commitments via loans, they also make more informed decisions because of their tech savvy.
Yet, with the COVID-19 pandemic gushing over the country, the future of Gen Z seemed uncertain for a while.
In a March 2020 Pew Research Center survey, half of the oldest Gen Z (ages 18 to 23) reported that they or someone in their household had lost a job because of the outbreak.
But while uncertainty escalates incessantly, Gen Z still find themselves in a much more secure spot. Online business opportunities, remote working options, and greater accessibility to investing methods have has given this generation the support it needs.
Money lessons that tie all of Gen Z together
1. Take quick but calculated decisions
If there’s anything money-related I’ve picked up from my father growing up, it’s that FDs are the most secure form of investment. Whenever you come into a handsome amount of money, invest it into a safe, long-term option. But, if Gen Z is to be heard (and I think they should be), if you want to grow your money, you have to make quick, calculated decisions.
The ability to make these decisions comes from reading, researching, and investing when you have enough to get back on your feet, lest you lose.
Whether it’s trading up at the stock market or investing in crypto or even buying a car, what helps Gen Z is their thorough awareness. They don’t indulge impulsively, but when they do, it’s quick, it’s calculated, it’s sure.
2. Save for yourself to save yourself
Generally, poles apart in their opinion of everything between the soil and the sky, this is the one thing that both Gen Z and millennials agree on – saving. Unlike their predecessors who believe in spending to show others (everything from lavish weddings and flashy cars to flamboyant trips and gift baskets), Gen Z believes in doing things for themselves.
They find ways to start saving as early on in life as possible. Nowadays, 20-year-olds are buying cars and becoming millionaires with their own money. They don’t plan their retirement when they touch 30 or 40, every penny they earn becomes a saving. Their saving options may be different from their millennial counterparts, but they are certainly suited to the uncertainty that the money market is going through right now.
According to a FORTUNE India report, 23-year-old Shaswat Nakrani of BharatPe was the youngest entrant in their list of rich people as of 2021, compared to 37-year-old Shivendra Singh of Fortis Group in 2012.
3. Quit the cushy job
Millennials walked so Gen Z could fly!
The norm that changing your job frequently can accelerate your career has been set in place by the millennial generation. Whether it’s millennials or Gen Z, they both believe in switching up every chance they get. The best way to climb the corporate ladder is to keep switching.
What makes Gen Z stand out though, is their ability to take greater risks.
From startups and social causes to freelance and part-time jobs, Gen Z is experimenting with everything. Give up your comfortable, cushy job and look out for non-unconventional, challenging roles that will give you the career boost (also financial boost) you need.
4. Ask for what you want
Gen Z might not be the most confident, outspoken generation of all time. Yet, when it comes to estimating their worth, they cannot be beat.
Whether you’re taking up your first job as a fresher, or just making a switch to a new company, you get paid according to what you think you’re worth.
Gen Z is not afraid to ask for what it thinks it deserves. Whether it’s higher pay, a more flexible working environment, better work titles, or untainted opinion on changes at work, Gen Z will not hold back.
5. Side hustle at centre stage
We’re not oblivious to the plethora of thrift stores being run on Instagram. That’s just one of the ways Gen Z is making money. From freelance jobs to part-time internships, this generation is going all in with its efforts at taking up a side hustle.
The idea is to do something mentally titillating, creatively challenging, and financially productive to supplement your main hustle.
Often, millennials tend to centre their attention on their main job. This results in frustration and untimely exhaustion. So, the next time you think you have a full-proof plan for a financially secure future, don’t forget to tick mark the side hustle box too.
6. Investing and experimenting
If there’s one thing that Gen Z doesn’t shy away from, it’s taking chances. This generation has given a silent resignation to seemingly secure investments like gold, real estate, and FDs. Instead, this generation likes to experiment.
Sovereign Gold Bonds, Real Estate Investment Trust Funds, mutual funds, and SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans) have replaced the conventional investment methods.
But the key is to perform well-read experiments, meaning you study the market, understand the process of investment, calculate the risks involved, and then take your shot. How much you want to experiment depends on your level of understanding of the subject as well as on your risk appetite.
Understandably, a 40-year-old father of two won’t push all his savings into trending crypto. A 20-year-old just starting on in life, who has the option of falling back on his parents or resuming the saving process again, can invest as freely as he wishes.
7. BYOB (Be Your Own Boss)
Shark Tank India is one of the most riveting reality TV shows of all time. But what caught the nation’s eye was the number of young entrepreneurs who presented their brilliant business ideas. These days, almost every young adult wants to start a business.
This generation possesses an entrepreneurial streak that has been severely untapped in the generations before it, thanks to limited avenues and opportunities.
Gen Z believes that every idea is a good idea. Whether it’s creating food packaging that doubles up as cutlery, or luxury accessories for your pricey sneakers, you can become the boss of your own business. Gen Z believes in building businesses that belong to them, nurturing their brainchild from the ground up, and in becoming their own boss.
With improved literacy rates, better technological access to investment and saving plans, and greater outreach on social media, Gen Z possesses all the right tools to make it in the money market.
According to a CNBC report, Gen Z’s income is expected to increase fivefold by 2030 to $33 trillion as they enter the workplace, accounting for over a quarter of global income. At this rate, they will be surpassing millennials’ income by 2031.
In hustling hard and trying to make the best of their time, Gen Z is ousting and exceeding its own expectations. We must then remind ourselves that it’s never too late to learn. To ace the money game is not to ace life, but it’s an elegant start.
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