What are Gen Zers’ attitudes toward money?

Survey: Gen Z's views and approach to investments

Key Takeaways*

  • Gen Zers invest an average of 9% of their income per year (roughly $5,522).
  • 1-in-5 of Gen Zers live with their parents to save money.
  • Although Gen Zers are 12% less likely than older generations to invest in a 401(k), they are 11% more likely to invest in a Roth IRA.
  • Gen Zers are 62% more likely than older generations to have no expectations of returns on their investments.

Gen Z adults (born between 1997-2005) have grown up in a very different financial landscape than their predecessors. The past few decades have seen the rise of everything from social media and cryptocurrency to brokerage-trading apps and meme stocks. Members of Gen Z stand out for being the first generation without a living memory of life before the Internet. How has having instant access to investing affected Gen Z’s approach to money?

*Empower surveyed 1,000 Americans employed full-time about their views and approach to investments.  Of our participants, 43% were Gen Zers, while the rest identified as millennials or Gen Xers.

Read on to discover how Gen Z’s investment strategies and perspectives stack up against those of older generations.

Is Gen Z Money Conscious?

Although the eldest members of Gen Z are just now in their mid-20s, recent studies1 indicate that many are already planning for retirement. The survey found that they were 62% more likely to have no expectations when it comes to returns. This could come down to the fact that many younger investors seem to be trying out different investing tactics. The Gen Zers we surveyed were 73% more likely than older generations to say they haven’t yet solidified their investment approach, and just over 40% identified themselves as novice investors.

Survey results indicated that Gen Z investors were 45% more likely than millennials or Gen Xers to “buy the dip” during times of market decline - in other words, to continue purchasing shares even when stock prices are down. This also stacks up against the common advice of taking a more aggressive investing approach in your younger years. With more time to weather the ups and downs of the market, Gen Z has been taking advantage of the opportunity to make investments when prices are low.


Gen Z's Allocations and Expectations

Overall, the Gen Zers surveyed who invest consistently have invested 10% of their income each year, which works out to an estimated average of $5,522. So, where are they getting the extra cash? Some (22%) were cashing in on the rent-free opportunity to live with their parents. Meanwhile, 44% of our respondents overall were working side hustles, and 41% had picked up gig (freelance) work to increase their incomes.

While Gen Z was 12% less likely to invest in a 401(k) than older generations, it’s possible that many simply haven’t had the option yet. Between the rise of the gig economy and many Gen Zers still working their way up from entry-level positions, some younger generations are using alternate investment vehicles. One example is a Roth IRA, which Gen Zers are 11% more likely to invest in than older generations.


Keeping an Eye on Finances

In the age of commission-free brokerage apps, Gen Z has grown up with the ability to watch the stock market right from their smartphones. Next, we looked into the tools they use to make and track their investments compared to older generations.


While we found manual investing to be the most popular approach for Gen Z, those with a bachelor’s degree or higher were 39% more likely to automate their investments. Gen Z has also taken advantage of the latest innovations when managing their finances; they were 26% more likely than older generations to track their finances through mobile apps. Having their investments in the palm of their hand seems to make it easier for Gen Z to track their portfolio’s performance – 1-in-4 members of Gen Z check in on their investments daily, weekly, or monthly.

Investment Inspirations


Gen Z investors have largely learned the ropes from family members and friends. But they are also nearly seven times more likely than other generations to use TikTok for financial advice. Successfully navigating social media investment forums comes down to being able to separate bad advice from useful information.

While some Gen Z investors reported using advanced AI platforms for advice, they aren’t likely getting very specific answers. Currently, those platforms are only programmed to give very general advice like “consider a Roth IRA” rather than offer up specific stock picks.

A New Generation of Investors

Advances in financial technology and access to advice through social media platforms appear to have encouraged members of Gen Z to invest earlier than previous generations. This could set them up for a strong financial future as when it comes to financial planning, one of the most beneficial assets is time.


For this study, Empower contracted 1,021 full-time employees about their approach to finances and investments from February 10 to February 13, 2023. Generationally, 43% of respondents were Gen Z, 30% were millennials, and 27% were Gen X.

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1Business Insider, “Here's the typical age people in each generation started saving for retirement,” April 17, 2021.

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