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The Recession's Silver Lining: A Financially Savvy Youth

Stocks in this article: AMTD

One year closer to financial independence, Gen Z is growing more concerned about the job market, among other economic and financial issues, according to the 2nd Annual Generation Z Survey , released by TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NYSE:AMTD). This year, 34 percent of respondents say their top economic concern is jobs and unemployment, up from 26 percent in TD Ameritrade’s 2012 Generation Z Survey. In addition:

  • They are more worried about large student loan debts (46% vs. 39% in 2012)
  • They are increasingly concerned that they won’t be able to rely on Social Security when they retire (39% vs. 31% in 2012)
  • They are more likely to believe saving is important at this stage in their lives (83% vs. 76% in 2012)
  • The majority (59%) of Gen Z with credit cards say they pay their balance off in full each month when they receive their statement, which is an increase from the 23% doing so in 2012

While coming of age during a recession may encourage conservatism and a good understanding of the importance of saving, some in Gen Z are missing critical opportunities to start good financial habits early:

Fact: Four out of 10 (41%) Gen Z respondents do not pay their credit card balance off in full every month, including a third (31%) who only pay their balance off in full one statement in every two or fewer. The average balance held on Gen Z’s last credit card statement before payment was $485.

Fact: Forty-four percent of Gen Z respondents say the best way to save for retirement is in a savings account, while only 11 percent think investing in the stock market is best.

Fact: While most Gen Z respondents say they have checking and savings accounts, nearly 1 in 5 do not have any savings/spending vehicles of their own.

Fact: More than half of those in Gen Z follow a budget. A quarter (27%) follow one carefully and another quarter (26%) follow one, but not very closely.

Fact: One-third have installed banking apps on their smartphones, and a smaller group of 8 percent say they have installed budgeting/savings apps. That’s more than those with Snapchat (26%) but significantly less than those with YouTube (83%), Facebook (78%) or Twitter (44%) apps.

“When it comes to establishing good financial habits, starting at a young age is key,” says Carrie Braxdale, managing director of investor services for TD Ameritrade.* “We encourage parents to talk to kids about money, and the survey suggests Gen Z will listen – six out of 10 say their parents are the most influential source of financial education.”

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