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Gen Zs ‘more stressed by inflation, more in debt’


Concern about finances peaks among 18 to 26-year-olds, Moneysmart research finds.

By Philip King 10 minute read

Gen Zs feel more financially stressed by inflation than other generations with higher levels of personal debt and greater reliance on buy now, pay later (BNPL) products, research by ASIC’s Moneysmart program finds.

It showed 82 per cent of those aged 18–26 – the so-called internet generation – agreed rising prices were a source of stress compared with 70 per cent of other generations, while finances were a major cause of concern for 68 per cent of Gen Zs against 57 per cent for everyone else.

Average personal debt for Gen Zs was higher at $8,188 compared to $6,730, while one in five (equivalent to 600,000) owed $10,000 and 4 per cent had run up debts of $50,000-plus.

Gen Zs were also more likely to use BNPL products (28 per cent compared to 21 per cent of non-Gen Zs), especially in regional Australia where one in three used BNPL.

ASIC CEO Warren Day said an awareness campaign targeted at Gen Zs would encourage them to learn how to manage money.

“Gen Zs are driven to learn more and improve their finances but there’s a clear need to engage and help them feel more confident about money,” he said.

“We want to show them that it doesn’t take a lot of time to make a start with small steps that will make big differences long term.”

“We’re encouraging Gen Zs to use the free tools at as a starting point to be more in control of their money.

“Learning how to plan and save, and deal with their expenses, sets up young Aussies for their future. We hope this campaign, through its practical tips, will help people feel more in control of their financial lives.”

He said encouragingly, nine out 10 Gen Zs had a strong desire and intent to boost their money skills and financial confidence, despite facing barriers. Almost half of Gen Zs lacked financial confidence and said feeling overwhelmed was the biggest barrier, followed closely by not knowing where to start (42 per cent).

Mr Day said the campaign would teach Gen Zs about money basics and how to build positive financial habits such as making a budget, paying off debt and setting a savings goal.

The survey showed one in four Gen Zs had less than $1,000 in savings, including 8 per cent without any savings at all.

In response to cost-of-living pressures, 39 per cent of Gen Zs were also considering getting a new or additional job.

The research revealed Gen Zs were twice as likely as other generations to turn to social media for information about managing their finances (56 per cent compared to 23 per cent of non-Gen Zs).

ASIC via YouGov surveyed 1,016 Australians aged 18–26 years (Gen Z) and 1,121 Australians aged 27 and older about their financial habits during two weeks in October.

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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

You can email Philip on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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