One of my biggest pet peeves is when people on the internet use the term “millennial” when they mean “twenty-somethings.” Most of the time, these critiques have something to do with how millennials spend their money: they waited too long to buy homes, they took on too much student loan debt, or they’re spending too much on fancy coffees and avocado toast.
I guess those are all matters of opinion, but as a 21 year-old in the year 2020, I can’t really speak to them. The majority of millennials are in their thirties now. Their lives feel really different and disconnected from me and my fellow Gen Zers, and I tend to take it personally when people try to blend us together. I think our differences are often underestimated. For example: I can’t think of a Gen Zer I know who’s had a MySpace page (or ahem, has heard of MySpace), and even Facebook is becoming more and more irrelevant.
Gen Zers were also in their formative years when the economy slid into the Great Recession, and lots of studies point to this generations’ hesitancy to stumble into some of the financial pitfalls of their parents or older siblings. Financially, Gen Z is a unique group, and they have a real and growing power as a consumer base.
But why else should you care about Gen Z? Here are some fast facts:
- They account for 27 percent of the U.S. population (by contrast, baby boomers are just about 22 percent).
- Among Gen Zers who have reached adulthood, two thirds are already credit active.
- Though it may seem counterintuitive, the vast majority of Gen Zers around the globe aren’t considered subprime borrowers in their respective markets. In most countries, over half of Gen Z consumers over the age of 18 had credit scores in in the prime and above credit tiers, according to a study by TransUnion.
- Sixty four percent of Gen Zers have already begun researching or talking with others about financial planning.
- Eight nine percent of Gen Zers say planning for their financial future makes them feel empowered.
And if there’s one thing we’ve learned at Zogo, it’s that Gen Zers are open to learning about finance. Ask our 37,000 users (yes, that number is up by 3,000 since my last post).
It may turn out that Gen Zers need to be more financially literate than older generations. Kicking off your financial and working life is hard enough in a booming economy — try giving it a go as the world stares down an economic crisis that rivals the Great Depression. Take it from a Gen Zer herself: it can feel scary, and impossible, and like you’re playing in a fast-paced, high-stakes game where nobody’s told you the rules.
So yes, Gen Z is important. Yes, they are the future of finance and the future of business and the future of this country in general. There are a dozen different logical reasons to engage them, to build trust and loyalty with them, to nurture them as they plunge into adulthood.
But the biggest reason to build Gen Z into your credit union’s business plan? They’ll likely end up needing you as much as you need them.
Take it from a Gen Zer herself.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make lunch. Maybe some avocado toast.