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This is the most materialistic generation today — here’s what you should know

Gen Z is the most materialistic generation, according to a new report. Here’s what parents should know

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Cash is fanned out from a wallet.

In this June 15, 2018, file photo, cash is fanned out from a wallet in North Andover, Mass.

Elise Amendola, Associated Press

Gen Z is the most materialistic generation today, according to a report by Bank of America. Gen Z, ages 10 to 25 per Beresford Research, are much more driven by financial success than millennials and Gen X.

According to Bank of America, Gen Z is 45% more likely “to cite the desire to comfortably afford material items ... as a motivator to achieving financial success.” For reference, that’s in comparison to 34% of millennials and 30% of Gen X.

What are Gen Z’s financial goals?

While Gen Z might be materialistic, they have reasonable and attainable financial goals, per Bank of America:

  • 40% want to further their education.
  • 32% want to advance their career and/or salaries.
  • 31% want to find a new job.
  • 25% want to save up for retirement.
  • 24% want to travel.
  • 20% want to build a good credit score.

Your teens might have some admirable financial goals, but they might be feeling anxious about actually reaching their goals.

Why is Gen Z so stressed?

Laurel Road, a digital banking platform, polled 2,000 millennial and Gen Z Americans to understand the toll finances took on their mental health. They found that 72% of those polled revealed that “managing their finances is a strain on their mental health.”

Gen Z clearly values financial success and buying material items, but they might be stressed about how to actually get there. But there’s good news — your teens might be willing to take steps to strengthen their financial efforts.

According to Alyssa Schaefer, general manager and chief experience officer at Laurel Road, “Financial stress and anxiety are incredibly common feelings among Gen Z and millennials ... and we’re seeing firsthand that this group is interested in taking the steps needed to alleviate stressors and strengthen their finances and mental health.”

How to talk to your teens about finances

If your teen is feeling stressed about their financial future, you can help them prioritize their financial wellness. Here’s how to talk to your kids about finances:

  • Stress the importance of budgeting. Chat to your teen about starting a budget. It doesn’t have to be complicated — it can be as easy as implementing the envelope method.
  • Give your teen goals to save for. Your teen needs to understand the importance of saving their money. Start by giving them something to save for — a trip, a new phone, a bike, etc. They’re more likely to be motivated to save their money for something they want.
  • Talk to them about credit. Credit might be a difficult concept for your teen to grasp. Give them a lesson on “credit 101” — how credit works, why it’s important, etc. If you feel like they’re ready, you might even sign them up for a credit card specifically for teens.
  • Give them insight into your finances. You can give your kids as much or as little information about your finances as you feel comfortable. But feel free to share with them how you save and what you save for, as well as any other healthy financial habits you’ve picked up.