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We need to talk about money, say Gen Z-ers

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Money worries start early for Generation Z. Around half of 18-24-year olds are more concerned about their finances this year than they were in 2018, according to new research at NatWest.

Only 38% of 55+ year olds said they were worried about their finances in 2019.

The lack of a steady income (39%), plus rising costs for essentials such as food and travel (44%) are their major concerns. 44% say they can’t save.

Social pressures also played a role. More than a third of young people worry about not being able to afford their social life and around a quarter say FOMO drives them to go to events they can’t really afford.

These costs are adding up, with 20% of 18-24-year olds saying they have used their overdraft to fund their social life, and 22% saying it meant they haven’t been able to save for milestones like a deposit for a house.

There remains a reluctance to talk about money worries. Young people are unlikely to discuss finances with friends, family or colleagues, with 43% saying they find finance a difficult topic to talk about and only around a quarter (24%) said they are comfortable talking about how money affects their mental health. However, a sizeable minority (40%) believe that talking about money would help.

Money diaries are gaining traction: more than one in 10 (13%) of 18-24-year olds and 11% of 24-34-year olds said reading money diaries makes them feel more comfortable talking about their own finances. Social media stars such as Love Islanders Paul Knops and Jamie Jewitt talking about how much they earn makes Gen Zers feel more comfortable talking about their own financial lives.

Kirsty Britz, director of sustainable banking at NatWest said: “2019 is going to be another year of economic turbulence, with uncertain income for many and rising prices. This, combined with the pressure to afford a social life, is clearly weighing on the minds of young people. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to get over the awkwardness and be more open about their finances – whether that’s not being able to afford a big night out or talking about the difficulties of being in debt.

“Money doesn’t just affect our financial health; it’s linked to our physical, mental and social wellbeing too. Talking about money is proven to have a positive effect, as well as helping people to make better financial decisions. We know if we encourage positive attitudes towards budgeting and saving from an early age it helps young people make the right financial choices in later life. That’s why we’re urging everyone to strike up a conversation this January to help make their financial lives easier. If people have particular concerns they should talk to their bank about the tools, such as budgeting tools or financial health checks, which can really help.”

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