5 money lessons millennials can learn from Gen Z

by Anna Baluch
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5 money lessons millennials can learn from Gen Z

Millennials have a bad reputation when it comes to money. Student loan debt has left many of them in a difficult financial situation. As a result, they often delay major life milestones like buying a house and having kids.

Gen Z, the generation below them (anyone born after 1997), has watched this happen and improved the way they manage their money. Here are five money lessons millennials can learn from Gen Z.

1. Save money like it’s your job

Compared to millennials, Gen Z makes more of an effort to save their hard earned cash. More than half (57%) of Gen Z would rather save their money than spend it immediately, according to a survey by Earnst and Young.

“Gen Z views debt as a social shame and strives to save money where and when they can,” explained Ethan Taub, CEO of Goalry, a financial marketplace.

Millennials can follow in Gen Z's footsteps and make it a priority to save. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways they can do just that. If you live alone, splitting housing costs with a roommate or two can be helpful. This is particularly true if you live in a high-rent city like New York City or San Francisco.

There are also ways to save money daily. For example swapping restaurant lunches for brown bag lunches. For prolonged saving methods, you can use fintech apps to automate savings. As long as you get creative and stay committed to your savings goals, you have a good chance at success.

2. Explore online money-making opportunities

Many millennials are unaware of online money-making opportunities. About a quarter (22%) of Gen Z say they make money online, according to a new report by Lexington Law.

For example, if you like to write, you can start a blog and earn cash via affiliate marketing, product sales and banner ads. If you’re crafty, you can sell handmade items on Etsy.

Another option is to design websites or test them. When it comes to making money online, there are countless opportunities out there. With some time, internet connection and dedication, millennials can use the online world to help meet their financial goals.

3. Start a side hustle

A side hustle is a way to make money outside of your full-time job. Some of the most lucrative ones include freelance writing, running Facebook ads for local businesses and virtual assisting.

While most side hustles require a lot of time, there are some passive opportunities that busy millennials may be able to pursue. You can rent out a car, host out of town guests in a part of your home or invest in crowdfunded real estate.

No matter which side hustle you choose, the extra money can make it easier to pay down debt, pad an emergency fund and save for a down payment on a house.

4. Negotiate to save

Almost anything can be negotiated — energy bills, insurance products, internet contracts, and even how much you earn. While many millennials may just accept and pay the price they’re given, Gen Z tries to do their research, compare prices and negotiate.

Millennials can reduce their expenses and increase cash flow by doing the same. You can create a budget and start by jotting down all of your recurring bills and how much they cost you. Then, you can do some research and find out if competitors offer better rates.

If you find you’re paying more than you should be, you can call your service providers and inform them of your findings. When asking for lower rates, it’s important that they remain firm and polite. Just remember that negotiating can take time, but if done well, can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the road.

5. Take a conservative approach to investing

Gen Z is often more conservative with their investments than millennials and other generations that came before them. “They tend to go for smaller but more consistent wins and are likely to see their efforts pay off over time” said Dallen Haws, financial planner at Haws Financial Planning.

Investing consistently into a well-diversified portfolio may not be as “sexy” as telling your friends you’ve invested in the “next Amazon,” it’s proven to work, said Haws. If you can be consistent and steady with your investments rather than looking for win-the-lottery opportunities, you can thrive.

Image: Nastia Kobzarenko