two figures on a game board like the game of life one on the left is climbing a ladder to a space with a crypto coin and the other is walking toward a space with a house

Ariel Davis

Millennials & Gen Zers are as likely to own cryptocurrency as they are real estate

Younger Americans are also more likely to try viral financial “hacks” and turn to social media for financial advice.

Headshot of Myles Ma, CPFC


Myles Ma, CPFCSenior ReporterMyles Ma, CPFC, is a certified personal finance counselor and former senior reporter at Policygenius, where he covered insurance and personal finance. His expertise has been featured in The Washington Post, PBS, CNBC, CBS News, USA Today, HuffPost, Salon, Inc. Magazine, MarketWatch, and elsewhere.

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When it comes to wealth, younger Americans (millennials and Gen Z) have catching up to do. Adult members of these generations own just 74 cents for every $1 of wealth that baby boomers owned at the same age. [1] They haven’t been as successful at reaching traditional financial goals like home ownership. In fact, younger generations are almost equally likely to own cryptocurrency (21%) as they are to own real estate (20%) and more likely to try financial “hacks,” according to the Policygenius 2024 Financial Planning Survey

Key findings

  • Gen Zers are more likely to own cryptocurrency (20%) than they are to own stocks (18%). 

  • 14% of Gen Z have tried “infinite banking” — a term for borrowing against the cash value of a whole life insurance policy. 

  • Gen Z and millennials are more than twice as likely to turn to social media first with a financial question (8%) compared to Gen X and baby boomers (2%). 

  • 31% of baby boomers feel proud of how they manage their finances, compared to just 23% of Gen X, 28% of millennials, and 23% of Gen Z. 

1 in 5 American adults under 42 owns cryptocurrency 

Home affordability is at its lowest point since the Great Recession, as a combination of high interest rates, stagnating incomes, and low housing stock have put home ownership out of reach for many Americans. [2] So it’s not surprising that only 20 percent of Gen Z and Millennial adults surveyed own real estate. 

In addition to real estate, zoomers (ages 18 to 26 at the time of the survey) are less likely than older generations to own stocks. Gen Z and milennials (ages 27 to 42) are much more likely to invest in alternative assets like cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) compared to their older counterparts. 

Baby boomers benefited greatly from housing wealth, which makes up nearly half of the wealth of a typical baby boomer household. [3] A growing housing shortage may prevent younger generations from benefiting in the same way. [4]

generational finance image 1

How millennials and zoomers are ‘hacking’ personal finance 

Aside from investments, millennials and Gen Zers are also more likely to try financial “hacks,” often popularized on social media, like no-spend challenges or “infinite banking” (borrowing against a whole life insurance policy). 62% of these younger generation members have tried at least one of six financial hacks listed in the survey (see below), compared to 36% of older generations.  

financial hacks question

No-spend challenges, which involve spending as little as possible for a set period of time, have gained prominence on TikTok and other social networks. Videos tagged #NoSpendMonth have amassed more than 90 million views on TikTok, and in our survey this financial hack was most popular among Gen Z.  

Millennials’ favorite financial hack, according to the survey, is maximizing credit card rewards, a practice of mixing and matching credit cards to accumulate as many points, airline miles, and other rewards as possible. This hack has gained popularity since the 2010s, when many millennials came of age financially around the same time as the launch of rewards-focused websites like The Points Guy. Unlike no-spend challenges, which are more popular among Gen Z and millennials, maximizing credit rewards is equally popular among Gen Z and baby boomers. 

Where younger Americans get financial advice 

In addition to owning different assets and trying different financial tactics, younger generations also get financial advice from different sources. Across every generation, financial professionals are among the most popular sources of advice. 

But even among the most popular choices, there are variations: Older generations are much more likely to turn to financial professionals first, which may reflect their greater wealth and access to paid financial advice. The top choices also reflect how as people get older, they rely less on their parents and more on their own financial knowledge, as older generations were more likely to select “none of these” over the nine choices for financial advice presented in the survey. Meanwhile, Gen Z and millennials were twice as likely as Gen X and baby boomers to turn to social media first for a financial question. 

Baby boomers feel the least financial shame 

In terms of how different generations feel about their finances, baby boomers stand alone. Around three-quarters of baby boomers (78%) said they feel at least somewhat proud of their finances. This makes sense: Baby boomers are wealthier on average and more likely to own real estate than younger generations. Meanwhile, younger generations all feel similar levels of shame and pride in their finances. 

generational finance q4


Policygenius commissioned YouGov to poll 4,063 Americans age 18 or older. The survey was carried out online from Oct. 16 through Oct. 19, 2023. The results have been weighted to be representative of all U.S. adults. The average margin of error was +/- 2%. 

About Policygenius 

Policygenius transforms the insurance journey for consumers by providing a one-stop platform where consumers can compare options from top insurance carriers, get unbiased expert advice, buy policies, and manage their insurance portfolio, in one seamless, integrated experience. Our proprietary technology platform integrates with the leading life, disability, and home & auto insurance carriers and delivers an exceptional digital experience for both consumers and insurance carriers. Since 2014, our content, digital tools, and experts have served as a resource for millions of people on their insurance journey, and we have sold more than $200 billion in coverage. In 2023, Policygenius was acquired by Zinnia, an insurance technology and digital services company. 

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Infographics by Anna Konson


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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of oureditorial standards.

  1. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    . "

    The State of U.S. Wealth Inequality

    ." Accessed March 22, 2024.

  2. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

    . "

    Home Ownership Affordability Monitor

    ." Accessed March 22, 2024.

  3. National Bureau of Economic Research

    . "

    Retirement Security of the Baby Boomers: the Role of Financial Literacy and Planning

    ." Accessed March 22, 2024.

  4. U.S. Government Accountability Office

    . "

    The Affordable Housing Crisis Grows While Efforts to Increase Supply Fall Short

    ." Accessed March 22, 2024.


No corrections since publication.


Myles Ma, CPFC, is a certified personal finance counselor and former senior reporter at Policygenius, where he covered insurance and personal finance. His expertise has been featured in The Washington Post, PBS, CNBC, CBS News, USA Today, HuffPost, Salon, Inc. Magazine, MarketWatch, and elsewhere.

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