Generation Advice: How financial coaching can help young investors

Generation Advice: How financial coaching can help young investors


Empower research reveals that more than half (55%) of Gen Z Americans – those born between 1997 and 2012 – say they haven’t gotten the financial advice they need.

For young people, life is full of financial decisions from education, career, family, housing and more. Along the way, it’s essential to know how money figures into each of these turning points on the path of adulthood.

Here’s how working with a financial advisor can help people get a full plan for their money future.

Navigating a changing world

Young Americans are entering the workforce at a time where high interest rates1 and rising inflation are putting stress especially on people with debt. Gen Z is also the generation that’s fallen most behind on their debt payments (for more than 90 days), and that population is more delinquent on their debt bills than have been in the past three years.2

In terms of accruing wealth, Gen Z believes they need to make an income of $128,084 annually in order to feel happy, according to Empower research. In 2021, the typical yearly salary for Gen Z workers in the U.S. stood at $32,500.3

Some 41% of Gen Zers are more willing to accept a lower-paying job during a soft job market, and 65% of them are seeking alternate income streams like side gigs or selling items online to improve their financial situation.

Taking all these moving parts into account, a financial advisor could help young Americans make a plan, including to take stock of their income sources and start mapping out strategies for debt management and investing. Additionally, those still getting familiar with filing yearly tax returns could tap a financial advisor for planning ahead, such as determining how much tax to withhold from their paychecks.

Getting a second opinion

For younger people looking to get clarity on where they stand with their money, a financial advisor can also act as a sounding board that listens to their concerns. When it comes to having financial discussions, Gen Z is most likely out of all Americans to say that budget conversations are the most stressful (43%) to have as a family.

Their family unit is likely to continue playing a part in their money future, as well: Nearly 1 in 4 Gen Zers (21%) are already incorporating support for aging parents into their financial planning.

Talking honestly about financial situations and milestones to hit could be easier with a professional who’s removed from personal aspects of family life and daily spending – but still invested in helping people succeed. (Here are some questions to ask while considering a financial advisor.)

An advisor can also help with setting both long- and short-term goals, which younger Americans have already started doing: Empower findings show that Gen Zers have set maintaining a budget (55%), making investments (46%) and paying off debt (44%) as their top three strategies to achieve financial success.

Putting goals into action

With a strong financial foundation set, an advisor can also help young professionals act on each step along the way. Though Gen Zers have a longer time horizon for retirement, they’re starting to plan for it much earlier than other generations, at age 23. (Empower data found that the average across all Americans is age 30.)

Thinking ahead is wise, as Gen Z wants to retire the soonest of all generations – at age 54. Many have gotten started, with nearly half (47%) of Gen Zers saying they’re saving in a retirement plan like a 401(k) or 403(b), according to an Empower study.

When figuring out how to take plans into concrete actions, a financial advisor can give context on where your steps stand in the current macroeconomic environment. In 2024, Gen Z shows the most aversion to risk when it comes to investing, with more than a quarter (26%) saying they may pull their investment funds to keep more cash on hand, according to Empower research.

Young adults who shift their allocation toward cash may miss out on the power of compounding returns. Through ongoing deposits in savings and investments, check out how money could have more time to grow and fuel even more financial plans:

FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY. This is a hypothetical illustration to show the value of saving early; it is not intended as a projection or prediction of future investment results, nor is it intended as financial planning or investment advice. It assumes a 6% average annual rate of return, $75,000 starting salary with no increases invested over 40 years and 33 years. Rates of return may vary. This illustration does not include any charges, expenses or fees that may be associated with your program. Fees could change the outcomes provided.

Taking the next step

With time on their side, younger people can maximize their working years and get a better understanding of their income, budget and goals from an early age. Taking time to learn about the types of financial advisors can help determine which could be the right one to partner with on your money journey.

Get the scoop on your money.

Stay current on planning, saving, and investing for life.

1 CBS News, "3 ways today's high rates impact your debt payoff plan," January 2024.

2 Newsweek, “Gen Z Has a Serious Debt Problem,” February 2024.

3 Fortune, “Here’s how much the typical Gen Z worker makes in every U.S. state,” September 2022.


The Currency editors

Staff contributors

The CurrencyTM, a publication from Empower, covers the latest financial news and views shaping how we live, work, and play. We keep you current on ways to plan, save, and invest for life.

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