Column: Gen Z money troubled


By Juliana McLeod

We all know the feeling of panicking over money. Whether it is next month’s rent, a car payment or dreaded textbooks, it is part of the college experience to continually worry over expenses both now and for the future.

The worst part of this is feeling alone. Yes, the college student next door  may be feeling the brunt of this nervousness as well, but each student is forced to concentrate on his or her own dilemma. For some, asking parents for money may no longer be an option as it once was. In college, it can feel like every man for himself when it comes to finances.

 However, we are not alone. The generation that comes after Millennials is just as concerned about finances, perhaps even more so. This age group, Generation Z, is comprised of teenagers currently 13 to 17-years-old, according to a 2014 survey completed by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

 The research shows that 51 percent of the teenagers surveyed “believe they know more about saving money compared to their parents at the same age.” On top of that, 61 percent of the surveyed group has already started saving money for the future.

 The survey continues to explain that 41 percent of those interviewed said they learned about saving money thanks to school lessons on the Great Recession, a financial downturn that hit in 2008.

 Another survey completed by Northeastern University similarly suggests that the recession may be the reason for Generation Z’s financial concerns. The Northeastern study concluded that 67 percent of Generation Z teenagers surveyed are worried about paying for college, while 25 percent said they will not be able to handle any amount of debt in their financial future.

 These worries transfer over into post college life, as the survey found that 60 percent of the teenagers worry about having enough money in the future.

 All of a sudden, I am not just concerned about myself, but the generation that comes after me. If college expenses are only becoming steeper, how are these teenagers going to survive financially?

 However, the next generation may be adapting their career paths to deal with potential financial burden. The same Northeastern study found that the surveyed group is incredibly interested in pursuing entrepreneurial studies. 63 percent of the group wants to learn about entrepreneurship in college, as well as how to start a business of their own.

“In addition, 42 percent said they expect to work for themselves at some point, nearly four times higher than the actual percentage of self-employed Americans,” the study found.

 This whole time, I thought Millennials would bring an edge to entrepreneurship, but I had no idea that the world will see a further determined generation. What does this mean to us? A younger sibling will be in good hands, but what about our generation?

We are entering an entrepreneurial juncture. While we are all applying to co-op positions around the world, perhaps it is time to take a step back and consider another option.

 The possibility to work for someone will always be available, but the possibility to be your own boss is a viable alternative.

 Instead of learning from parents and guardians, as per usual, take this opportunity to learn from the kids. They may have the right idea in mind.

Photo courtesy Tax Credits, Creative Commons.