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Gen Z Workers Striving for Financial Wellness

Members of Generation Z, the demographic group born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, are officially joining the workforce, but they’re already experiencing financial issues the moment they enter the workplace and are looking to their employers for help, new survey results show.

While Gen Zers are confident in their financial future and how they manage financial obligations, most (71%) say they are “moderately to very stressed” about their finances, according to LifeWorks’ report, “The Financial Wellness of Gen Z: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” (Contact information is required to download.)

Like previous generations, Gen Zers' worries are centered on both short-term (living paycheck to paycheck) and long-term (building savings and planning for retirement) financial wellness, but they also bring “ambitious goals and a healthy approach” to money management, the study notes.

Nearly 7 out of 10 respondents say they are confident they will be more financially secure than their parents, and an equal amount say they are comfortable meeting their living expenses. Their top financial goals include building savings/emergency funds, establishing a budget and tracking spending habits. Yet, they are also struggling to save. Nearly one in five (19%) Gen Z employees are not putting anything into savings each month, and nearly one in four (23%) are saving less than $50, the findings show.

Moreover, most Gen Zers say financial stress affects their performance in some way, with 40% of respondents saying they’re distracted with financial matters at work, 25% saying they work longer hours and weekends for overtime pay, and 19% saying they miss work because of financial stress.

And while they want their employers to help them, many say they feel unsupported. According to the report, fewer than half (40%) of the respondents cannot say their employer cares about their financial wellness and helps them manage it.

A significant majority (84%) of Gen Zers agree that it’s important for their employer to offer a financial wellness program. In addition to health and retirement savings programs, the report suggests investing in initiatives geared toward teaching Gen Z employees more about general financial literacy, managing debt, saving for retirement and budgeting.

According to the study, respondents ranked the most important aspects of a financial wellness program this way:

  • financial education workshops and seminars (32%)

  • financial coaching and counseling services (26%)

  • financial management tools, such as for budgeting and tracking spending (19%)

The report shows a modest level of participation in their employer’s financial wellness program: 41% are currently participating, while 11% say they previously participated. And while many Gen Z employees are engaged in financial wellness initiatives, 20% of respondents say they stopped participating or have never participated, 19% said they’re not aware whether or not a program exists, and 20% say their employer does not offer one.

The results are based on two surveys of 500 respondents in the U.S. and U.K. and 251 respondents in Canada between 14 and 22 years old conducted in February 2018. Employed individuals accounted for 75% of respondents and those who were between 18 and 22 years of age made up 94% of respondents.