Gen Z more open about politics and sex than finances, survey reveals

TikTok's 'soft saving' trend affecting how young Canadians save – or don't save

Gen Z more open about politics and sex than finances, survey reveals

A new survey by Intuit, the global financial technology, reveals that Generation Z feels like they are falling behind in financial competition against their peers.

As the first generation of digital natives, they’re also more than twice as likely than the general population to compare themselves to others on social media, the poll found.

The results point to how “filtered finances” are significantly affecting 18 to 25-year-olds, just as overly edited Instagram beauty photos fuel concerns. Honest dialogues about traditionally taboo topics are becoming more and more common.

Gen Zers prefer to discuss politics, parental challenges, sex, and infertility over debt, their income, and bad investments, the research found. They are among the 55% of Canadians who prefer to talk to their children about sex rather than their own money, despite leading modern lifestyles.

The financial offshoot of the boundary-setting "soft life" trend centred on comfort and reducing stress, "soft saving," was also revealed in survey data. This ideology encompasses money and is currently dominating TikTok streams.

Gen Z is adopting "soft saving," with three out of four saying they would rather have a higher quality of life than more money in the bank, in a sharp contrast to the F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement, hustle culture, and the Girlboss ethos that dominated the previous decade.

Since over two thirds (68%) of Gen Z claim they are just interested in money to sustain their present interests, experiences really matter more to them than money does.

Compared to previous generations, Gen Z has greater access to financial data, but this doesn't necessarily result in better informed choices. The report demonstrates how Gen Z is usually confused by contradicting advice and might benefit from innovative ways to save, from financial guidance on TikTok to Reddit forums on investing.

Seventy-four per cent (74%) claim to know how to create a budget and manage their income but haven't done so. Almost the same percentage (73%) are aware of how crucial investing is, yet lack the knowledge to accomplish it.

Although two thirds (65%) claim to have some financial knowledge, they are unclear on how to use it. And despite not completely understanding blockchain, nearly half (49%) purchased cryptocurrencies.

Over three fifths of Gen Zers (64%) said they are unsure they would have enough money to retire.

The Canadian survey results also found poor finances hindering people’s quality of life, particularly for the lifestyle-focused Gen Z. Around three fifths of that cohort (62%) said their financial status prevents them from having the things they desire in life.

Going out with friends to restaurants and bars they know they can't afford causes anxiety in over half (59%) of Canadians, including 70% of Gen Z.

Giving a present for a particular occasion would also be difficult for 53% of Canadians (67% of Gen Z), and financial restrictions are leading to less quality time with friends and family for 45% of Canadians (56% for Gen Z).

“The economic shocks of the last few years have transformed how Gen Z views success, and this survey revealed that prosperity means something different to everyone, particularly Zoomers,” said ​Brittney Castro, Intuit consumer financial advocate.