Study Finds 70 Percent of Millennials, Gen Z Rethinking Their Financial Approach Due to Pandemic

Seven in 10 (70 percent) millennials and Gen Zers said COVID-19, specifically, made them realize they needed to reset and reevaluate how they handle their money, according to new research.

The study asked 1,000 Gen Z Americans and 1,000 American millennials about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 as a whole on their personal finances.

Over half (52 percent) of respondents said they wish they did a better job handling their money during the pandemic.

In a show of generational difference, millennials were more likely than their Gen Z counterparts to feel like they handled their money poorly, at 59 percent compared to 46 percent.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Laurel Road, a digital lending platform, respondents reflected on the pandemic and noted the top reasons for a financial reset included new personal goals (33 percent), changes to their personal life (32 percent), and new financial goals (30 percent).

Although nearly seven in 10 respondents shared they’ve effectively budgeted their money as best they could, given the circumstances of 2020 and quarantine in particular, 60 percent also said they wish they could improve their budgeting skills, they just don’t know where to begin.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they made more of an effort to save more money when they could, with 33 percent creating a budget and 25 percent even speaking to a financial adviser about their situations.

A further 20 percent of those polled shared they refinanced their student loans and 19 percent consolidated their student loans.

And for those polled with student loans (approximately 1,500 respondents), 62 percent said the federal student loan forbearance has made an impact on their ability to save money during the pandemic.

These quick adaptations during this uncertain time seemed to have paid off, as the average Gen Z respondent saved nearly $600 and the average millennial respondent saved just over $1,000 specifically during the pandemic.

Respondents also shared the top ways they’ve been investing in themselves during this uncertain time – with 32 percent putting money toward personal wellness and 25 percent investing in their professional development by getting certified in additional skills.

Encouragingly, a quarter (25 percent) of respondents also shared they’ve put more money toward mental health resources as well.

Student loans also play a big part in Gen Z and millennials’ financial wellness, as the survey found 62 percent of those surveyed with student loans shared that quarantine finally allowed them the time to think about their student loan financing options.

Looking ahead to next year, one in five respondents shared that if they had an extra $1,000 to spend in 2021 – they’d use it to pay off more of their student loans.

Additionally, a quarter of respondents said they would invest in their personal wellness and even in the stock market.

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