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Why Gen Z is Approaching Money Differently Than Other Generations

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Every generation has their own unique approach to money and personal finance.

Millennials, for example, found the journey to adulthood riddled with obstacles such as stagnating wage growth and uncertain economic conditions. These challenges, combined with other generational circumstances, helped to shape the group’s spending habits and attitudes towards money and debt.

Along this journey, Millennials ended up making their fair share of financial mistakes – but interestingly, evidence is now mounting that the next generational cohort (Gen Z) is already learning from their elders.

A New Approach to Money

Today’s infographic comes to us from Rave Reviews and it shows how Gen Z is taking a more pragmatic approach to money.

Why Gen Z is Approaching Money Differently Than Other Generations

Gen Z saw some of their older friends take on massive amounts of debt, while also struggling to find well-paying jobs.

As a result, this new generation (born 1997 and onwards) is taking a much more pragmatic approach to the world of personal finance. Gen Zers generally want to secure well-paying and stable jobs, and to grow their savings rather than spending money that they don’t have.

School and Work

For Generation Z, an education is often seen as an end to a financial means. In other words, college is an opportunity to build a set of skills that will be valuable to employers, ensuring a stable career.

That’s why 88% of the first Gen Z grad class in 2017 ended up choosing their majors with job availability in mind.

Recent Gen Z grads are willing to put in the work, as well:

  • 75% are willing to relocate to another state for a job offer
  • 58% are willing to work evenings and weekends
  • 78% have completed an internship or apprenticeship
  • 77% earn extra money through freelance work, a part-time job, or an earned allowance
  • 35% already own their own business, or are planning to start one in the future

While the Gen Z outlook on school and work is a defining factor in their attitude towards personal finance, how they save and spend money is also making a difference.

Saving and Spending

A whopping 89% of Gen Zers say planning for their financial future makes them feel empowered, while 64% have already begun researching the topic of financial planning.

With dollars and cents on their minds, Gen Z is a more frugal and fiscally responsible group:

  • 72% say that cost is most important factor when making a purchase
  • 47% use their phones in-store to check prices and ask family or friends for advice
  • 66% plan to attend college in-state to save on tuition

As Gen Z enters the professional workforce and starts investing their savings, it will be interesting to see what comes out of this frugal and practical approach to money.

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Debt

Visualizing the Snowball of Government Debt

After an unprecedented borrowing spree in response to COVID-19, what does government debt look like around the world?

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Visualizing the Snowball of Government Debt in 2021

As we approach the second half of 2021, many countries around the world are beginning to relax their COVID-19 restrictions.

And while this signals a return to normalcy for much of the global economy, there’s one subject that’s likely to remain controversial: government debt.

To see how each country is faring in the aftermath of an unprecedented global borrowing spree, this graphic from HowMuch.net visualizes debt-to-GDP ratios using April 2021 data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ranking the Top 10 in Government Debt

Government debt is often analyzed through the debt-to-GDP metric because it contextualizes an otherwise massive number.

Take for example the U.S. national debt, which currently sits at over $27 trillion. In isolation this figure sounds daunting, but when expressed as a % of U.S. GDP, it works out to a more relatable 133%. This format also allows us to make a better comparison between countries, especially when their economies differ in size.

With that being said, here are the top 10 countries in terms of debt-to-GDP. For further context, we’ve included their 2019 and 2020 values as well.

Rank (2021)CountryDebt-to-GDP (2019)Debt-to-GDP (2020)Debt-to-GDP (April 2021)
#1🇯🇵 Japan235%256%257%
#2🇸🇩 Sudan200%262%212%
#3🇬🇷 Greece185%213%210%
#4🇪🇷 Eritrea189%185%176%
#5🇸🇷 Suriname93%166%157%
#6🇮🇹 Italy135%156%157%
#7🇧🇧 Barbados127%149%143%
#8🇲🇻 Maldives78%143%140%
#9🇨🇻 Cape Verde125%139%138%
#10🇧🇿 Belize98%127%135%

Source: IMF

Japan tops the list with a ratio of 257%, though this isn’t really a surprise—the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio first surpassed 100% in the 1990s, and in 2010, it became the first advanced economy to reach 200%.

Such significant debt burdens are the result of non-traditional monetary policies, many of which were first implemented by Japan, then adopted by others. In the late 1990s, for instance, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) set interest rates at 0% to counter deflation and promote economic growth.

This low cost of borrowing enables businesses and governments to accumulate debt much more freely, and has seen widespread use among other developed nations post-2008.

What are the Risks?

Given that a majority of countries in this visual are red (meaning their debt-to-GDP ratios are over 50%), it’s safe to say that government borrowing is common practice.

But are large government debts a cause for concern?

Some believe that excessive borrowing will lead to higher interest costs in the long run, which could detract from economic growth and public sector investment. This theory is unlikely to become a reality anytime soon, however.

A recent report by RBC Wealth Management reported that the cost of servicing U.S. federal debt actually decreased in 2020, thanks to the low borrowing costs mentioned previously.

Perhaps a more prescient question would be: how long can the world’s central banks keep interest rates at near-zero levels?

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Money

Ranked: The World’s 25 Richest Millennial Billionaires

There are over 2,700 billionaires in the world, but how many are millennials? This visual breaks down the richest millennial billionaires.

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Ranked: The World’s 25 Richest Millennial Billionaires

There are 2,755 billionaires globally—and combined, they are worth over $13 trillion.

Of these ultra wealthy individuals, just over 100 are millennials, born between the years 1981 and 1996. This young generation represents around 3.8% of all billionaires on a global basis with a combined net worth of $573.1 billion.

This visualization, using data from Forbes, ranks the richest 25 millennial billionaires and details their source of wealth, total net worth, nationality, and age.

Note: Forbes categorized billionaires by current age (2021). For those slightly over or under the age range of Millennials, meaning those who are currently 24 or 40 years old (i.e. they could have been born in either 1996/1997 or 1980/1981), if their birth year could not be accurately determined, they were left out of this ranking.

Who are the Millennial Billionaires?

The oldest millennials will be turning 40 in 2021, while the youngest are just turning 25. This means that millennial billionaires are generally the youngest billionaires in the world, save two Gen Zers: Wang Zelong of China, 24, and Kevin David Lehmann of Germany, 18.

NameAgeNet WorthCountryIndustry
Mark Zuckerberg36$97.0 BU.S.Tech
Zhang Yiming37$35.6 BChinaTech
Yang Huiyan & family39$29.6 BChinaReal Estate
Dustin Moskovitz36$17.8 BU.S.Tech
Su Hua39$17.8 BChinaMedia & Entertainment
Pavel Durov36$17.2 BRussiaTech
Lukas Walton34$15.6 BU.S.Fashion & Retail 
Eduardo Saverin39$14.6 BBrazilTech
Cheng Yixiao37$14.1 BChinaMedia & Entertainment
Brian Chesky39$13.7 BU.S.Tech
Nathan Blecharczyk37$12.4 BU.S.Tech
Joe Gebbia39$12.4 BU.S.Tech
Bobby Murphy32$11.9 BU.S.Tech
Evan Spiegel30$11.1 BU.S. Tech
Guillaume Pousaz39$9.0 BSwitzerlandFinance & Investments
Sam Bankman-Fried29$8.7 BU.S.Finance & Investments
Agnete Kirk Thinggaard37$8.7 BDenmarkManufacturing
Dmitry Bukhman35$7.9 BRussiaMedia & Entertainment
Igor Bukhman39$7.9 BRussiaMedia & Entertainment
Ernest Garcia, III.38$7.4 BU.S.Automotive
Brian Armstrong38$6.5 BU.S.Finance & Investments
Wang Ning & family34$6.3 BChinaMedia & Entertainment
Scott Duncan38$6.0 BU.S.Energy
David Velez39$5.2 BColombiaFinance & Investments
Kate Wang39$5.0 BChinaManufacturing 
Daniel Ek38$4.6 BSwedenTechnology
Gustav Magnar Witzoe27$4.4 BNorwayFood & Beverage
Steven Meng Yang & family38$4.2 BChinaTechnology
Li Xiang39$4.0 BChinaAutomotive
Ben Silbermann38$3.9 BU.S.Technology
Lynsi Snyder38$3.6 BU.S.Food & Beverage
Apoorva Mehta34$3.5 BCanadaTechnology
Franco Bittar Garcia37$3.5 BBrazilFashion & Retail 
Xu Yi31$3.4 BChina Media & Entertainment
RJ Scaringe38$3.4 BU.S.Automotive
Patrick Collison32$3.2 B Ireland Technology
John Collison30$3.2 BIrelandTechnology
Pedro de Godoy Bueno30$3.0 BBrazil Healthcare
Geoffrey Kwok35$3.0 BHong KongReal Estate
Yin Xin36$3.0 BChinaMedia & Entertainment
Huang Jinfeng38$3.0 BChinaFashion & Retail
Cameron Winklevoss39$3.0 BU.S.Finance & Investments
Tyler Winklevoss39$3.0 BU.S.Finance & Investments
Paul Sciarra40$2.9 BU.S. Technology
Chen Tianshi36$2.8 BChinaTechnology
Tony Xu36$2.8 BU.S.Technology
Victor Jacobsson39$2.7 BSwedenFiannce & Investments
Caroline Hagen Kjos37$2.6 BNorwayDiversified
Adam Kwok38$2.6 BHong KongReal Estate
André Street36$2.5 BBrazilFinance & Investments
Chang Jing38$2.5 BChinaTechnology
Byju Raveendran and Divya Gokulnath39$2.5 BIndiaTechnology
Austin Russell26$2.4 BU.S.Automotive
Jonathan Kwok29$2.4 BHong KongReal Estate
David Chen40$2.4 BSingaporeMedia & Entertainment
Tom Persson36$2.3 BSwedenFashion & Retail
Jared Isaacman38$2.3 BU.S. Technology
Andrew Paradise38$2.3 BU.S. Media & Entertainment
Sebastian Siemiatkowski39$2.2 BSwedenFinance & Investments
Timur Turlov33$2.1 BRussiaFinance & Investments
Gong Yingying36$2.1 BChinaHealthcare
Katarina Martinson39$2.1 BSwedenDiversified
Andy Fang28$2.0 BU.S.Technology
Stanley Tang28$2.0 BU.S. Technology
Christopher Kwok35$1.9 BHong KongReal Estate
Ipek Kirac36$1.9 BTurkeyDiversified
Kevin Systrom37$1.9 BU.S.Technology
Fred Ehrsam32$1.9 BU.S. Finance & Investments
Nick Molnar30$1.8 BAustraliaFinance & Investments
Joachim Ante38$1.8 BGermanyTechnology
Drew Houston38$1.8 BU.S. Technology
Said Gutseriev32$1.7 BRussiaEnergy
Ginia Rinehart34$1.7 BAustraliaMetals & Mining
Hope Welker35$1.7 BAustraliaMetals & Mining
Bill Liu38$1.7 BChinaTechnology
Peter Szulczewski39$1.7 BCanadaTechnology
Lisa Draexlmaier30$1.6 BGermanyAutomotive
Eva Maria Braun-Luedicke34$1.6 BGermanyHealthcare
Heikki Herlin34$1.6 BFinlandManufacturing
Ryan Cohen35$1.6 BCanadaFiannce & Investments
Friederike Braun-Luedicke37$1.6 BGermanyHealthcare
Wen Yilong32$1.5 BChinaManufacturing
Zeng Chaolin38$1.5 BChinaMetals & Mining
Alexandra Andresen24$1.4 BNorwayDiversified
Katharina Andresen25$1.4 BNorwayDiversified
Karl Friedrich Braun38$1.4 BGermanyHealthcare
Trevor Milton39$1.4 BU.S.Automotive
Ludwig Theodor Braun31$1.3 BGermanyHealthcare
Anna Kasprzak31$1.3 BDenmark Fashion & Retail
Whitney Wolfe Herd31$1.3 BU.S.Technology
André Kasprzak34$1.3 BDenmarkFashion & Retail
Hakan Koc36$1.2 BGermanyAutomotive
Nik Storonsky36$1.2 BUKTechnology
Christian Bertermann37$1.2 BGermanyAutomotive
Ryan Graves37$1.2 BU.S.Technology
Cheng Wei38$1.2 BChinaService
Lu Zhilin38$1.2 BChinaManufacturing
Sachin Bansal39$1.2 BIndiaFashion & Retail
Huang Yimeng39$1.2 BChinaMedia & Entertainment
Wang Han33$1.1 BChinaDiversified
Anne Werninghaus35$1.1 BBrazil Manufacturing
Binny Bansal38$1.1 BIndiaTechnology
Sanjit Biswas39$1.1 BU.S.Technology
Vlad Tenev34$1.0 BU.S.Fiannce & Investments
Baiju Bhatt36$1.0 BU.S.Finance & Investments
Hou Jianbin39$1.0 BChinaService

The U.S. is home to the most millennial billionaires at 33 total, with China coming in second at 23—most other countries fall far behind.

In the U.S., millennial billionaires are often associated with notable tech companies like Snapchat, Airbnb, and Facebook. Others are heirs of massive family fortunes like Lukas Walton—grandson of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart and the original head of America’s richest family.

In China, some millennial billionaires really stand out, like Relx founder, Kate Wang. The 39-year-old started her e-cigarette and vape company only three years ago, at age 36, and is expected to soon be vying for the title of richest woman in China.

Billionaire Growth

Overall, billionaires were up $8 trillion in combined net worth compared to 2020 with around 493 new people added to the list in 2021.

In fact, 86% of all billionaires are richer than a year ago. But let’s look at how wealth changed for the millennials in the billionaires club. Here’s a look at the difference in net worth from 2020 to 2021 for the top five richest millennials:

  • Mark Zuckerberg: +$35 Billion
  • Zhang Yiming: +$19.4 Billion
  • Yang Huiyan: +$9.3 Billion
  • Dustin Moskovitz: +$8.5 Billion
  • Su Hua: +$14.9 Billion

For each of the top 25 millennial billionaires, net worth either increased or was unchanged (or they were new to the title of billionaire). This is true for all except one person—Lukas Walton, whose net worth decreased by almost $3 billion from 2020 to 2021.

The Average Millennial

While there are around 106 millennial billionaires worldwide, their combined net worth is only a fraction of total billionaire wealth. So how much economic power and influence does this generation really hold?

When looking at the average American millennial’s wealth, the Generational Power Index has determined that this young generation only holds 9.6% of economic power in the U.S. Here’s a quick look at millennial wealth metrics in the U.S.:

  • Millennials only make up 7% of American business leaders
  • They own $73 billion in equities and mutual fund shares
  • They represent 13% of small business leaders
  • They make up 7% of American billionaire wealth

Globally, there are an estimated 1.8 billion millennials. Among that cohort, there are just over 100 people worth billions—and given that many are still in the early part of their careers, there is likely to be many millennial billionaires yet to come.

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