22.03.28 Mint  752 SMALL FOR WEB

Gen Z Kiwis may speak a different language, but their priorities around financial wellbeing are still the same

6 April 2023

Generational differences have always fascinated me.  For a long time I thought my parents were boomers but, while researching this article, I found out they were in fact ‘builders’. I’ve always been pleased I was born in January 1965 because this meant I was a Gen X and not a boomer. Not that I’ve got anything against boomers, I’ve just never felt connected to them, plus they always sounded a lot older than me, even if I only snuck in by six days! 

Sandwiched between two of the most headline grabbing rowdy generations, being the boomers and Gen Y’s, more commonly known as millennials, has actually been a great place to be. Gen Xers aren’t (as yet) being blamed for climate change and the woes of the world and nor, as some commentators state, are we seen as entitled and wanting everything now.

A presentation I went to a few weeks ago really pricked my interest because part of it focused on Gen Zs – those aged 14 to 28-years-old.

It kicked off with an example of a text conversation between two Gen Zs.


The audience looked like stunned mullets when this was read out and I realised, like them, I was incredibly old and not very cool.  The actual conversation in English was: “I have a new job and it’s great”, “That’s nice”.

That said I needed to know if this was legit, so to speak, so I sent the above conversation to my daughter Alarnah who is a Gen Z and asked if she spoke like this with her friends. She replied well not quite like that but it was pretty close. My heart sank, I was officially old.

Meanwhile, back at the presentation, the next set of slides was far more intriguing, featuring research by McCrindle, called the Education Future 2021 report, and listing the top five hopes and fears of Gen Zs.

Top five hopes

  • Owning their own home 72%
  • Full financial freedom and independence 67%
  •  Excel in their career 67%
  • Travel and see the world 66%
  • Pursue interests and hobbies 65%

Top five fears

  •  Not having enough money to live comfortably 65%
  • Being stuck in a job they don’t enjoy or find fulfilment in 61%
  • Not reaching their potential 54%
  • Not finding love 48%
  • Never being able to own their own home 47%

What surprised me was, after all the so-called change in generations and the way they think and act, some things never change, particularly around wellbeing and money. Sure, there are differences but they are not that far apart. By way of example, if I had asked my dad: “Is your job enjoyable and fulfilling?” I would have got one of his ‘what are you saying?’ looks, with his right eyebrow slightly raised. Followed by: “I’m happy just to have a job, it doesn’t matter if I don’t like it because it provides for the family”, which was the most important thing to him. More broadly speaking, it gave him fulfilment to be able to pursue his hobbies and give his children choices and access to experiences he never had.

When I went through the lists above, they were very similar to my hopes and fears, except one of them would have been getting married and having a family. Like all research it begs more questions than it answers, but it highlighted to me that the fundamentals were still the same.

Where I think there have been significant changes is how Gen Z see the world and the global issues that are impacting them.

Their top five global issues are:

  • Ending racism 83%
  • Reducing climate change 79%
  • Social equality 78%
  • Alleviating poverty 78%
  • Resource scarcity 77% (e.g. water, food and rare metals)

If I look back at my top fears at a similar age they might have looked like this:

  • Threat of nuclear war
  • Threat of Aids
  • Global interest rates rising (especially when I had a mortgage at 18%, then 22%)
  • Global unemployment
  • And who shot JR?

Another piece of research by McCrindle in January this year found 74% of participants were:

  • Nervous AI will replace human jobs 74% Gen Zs 82%
  • Felt it was important that people disclose if they have used AI when writing articles 84% Gen Zs 87%
  • Prefer talking to a human than engaging with an AI chat bot 92% Gen Zs 84%

Some interesting insights and the rush to go completely digital may be just a little further away than we all think.  When it comes to getting advice, no matter whether its financial or personal, I suspect even the Gen Zs will still look to get it from a living person and not so much from a computer. That said Gen Alpha (0-13) may think a little differently.

The more things change the more they stay the same (well almost)

So for those Gen Zs who have managed to get to the bottom of this article, here are the top five things you can do right now to help your overall financial wellbeing:

  • Work out where you are spending your money (there’s a great budget tool at www.sorted.org.nz)
  • Save a little from your payday every pay (KiwiSaver)
  • Save some money in a separate account for a rainy day (buffer or emergency savings account)
  • Protect what you can’t afford to lose (car, house, contents, health and life insurance)
  • Get some advice to help build a plan so you can enjoy the journey not just the destination

If I was to go back and explain those themes to a mate when I was in my impressionable years the conversation might have gone like this:

“Mate you need to crack on at your gig, so you can have lots of ding, that will allow you to shoot the goose, be able to crack a cold one when you want, then one day you can get hitched, have a couple of squawkers, shield yourself, and then take a chill pill and not be just a wannabe.”

Mate’s reply would have been “Cool”.

The rough interpretation of the above actually says “my dear friend you need to work hard to earn money, so you can leave home, have a beer whenever you want, so that when you get married and have some kids you can protect what’s important, relax and enjoy your life”.

Reply “Sounds like a very good plan thanks”.

This article was written by a real person, with real life experiences, and uses storytelling to help make financial wellbeing interesting and, hopefully create a smile or two along the way.

Disclaimer: David Boyle is Head of Sales and Marketing at Mint Asset Management Limited. The above article is intended to provide information and does not purport to give investment advice.

Mint Asset Management is the issuer of the Mint Asset Management Funds. Download a copy of the product disclosure statement here.

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