The pandemic has been the catalyst for the world becoming increasingly cashless and in recent years, increasing numbers of young people have been using “buy now pay later” platforms, been subjected to crypto scams and exposed to financial misinformation on social media. These threats are inherently unique to Gen Z and didn’t exist ten years ago.
In order to help combat these risks and support and equip young people with the knowledge and skills necessary to build a healthy relationship with money, we need to make conversations about money and finances more real, relatable and practical.
Teaching young people financial literacy has the potential to empower them, giving them greater financial security and confidence and improving social mobility. With research suggesting that 67% of young people do not feel confident planning their financial future, this has never been more important.
Here are 5 top financial tips for Gen Z:
1. Be careful when using money lending platforms
Over the last few years, money lending platforms have become increasingly prominent, being an available payment option on most online retailers. These platforms make it considerably easier for young people to fall into debt without realising it, as they can use them as the default payment when making purchases from a wide variety of online stores. Unlike normal purchases, “buy now pay later” schemes enable young people to impulse-buy without having the upfront funds needed – this can lead to unsustainable debt and risks impacting young people’s future credit scores. If young people aren’t careful they can get trapped in a cycle of buying items they can’t afford.
When it comes to money, being able to manage it well is part of a healthy lifestyle. Many of us can be tempted to make impulse purchases, especially when access to “buy now pay later” schemes is so easily available, but it’s really important to have a plan to pay off the debt. It’s also worth setting yourself spending limits so you only buy what you can afford to pay back.
2. Use discounts
As the cost of living rises, discounts have never been more important for young people – yet many don’t use them to their advantage. Numerous high street brands offer student concessions through platforms such as UNiDAYS. When buying your next pair of trainers you should use these websites to save you money.
3. Keep learning
It’s important to familiarise yourself with financial terms and to increase your knowledge of financial products and services, such as pensions, savings accounts and investments. There are many ways in which you can do this, such as through online learning, or by following personal finance influencers on TikTok, YouTube or Instagram. But don’t forget, it’s really important that you do your own research – if an offer for cryptocurrency sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And consider whether the ad featuring a celebrity influencer that’s encouraging you to invest your money is real or if it’s been faked.
Whilst it sounds obvious, saving and setting a budget have never been more important. However, whilst it can be hard to keep track of your spending, there are numerous apps which are great and do the hard work for you. Nowadays, many mobile banks highlight your spending patterns, meaning you can work out where you need to be more frugal to save money over the year. Budgeting is also great as it takes away any element of surprise (for example the pandemic, recessions etc), helps you plan ahead, and gives peace of mind regarding your finances, helping to reduce anxiety.
5. Use comparison sites
Customer loyalty doesn’t always save you money. But there are some great deals from providers if you are willing to search for them. By using comparison sites you can save money on everything from energy bills to phone contracts. A little time spent researching could save you significant money and stop you from overpaying on bills.
About the author: Sharon Davies is CEO of Young Enterprise, a national financial and enterprise education charity that helps young people learn to earn and look after their money. Learn more at www.young-enterprise.org.uk.