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Gen Z & Money: Charting a Path to Financial Savvy

Sarah Sharkey Updated: November 12, 2023 • 3 min read
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Key Points:

  • More than 70% of Gen Z members surveyed feel that the education system failed to teach them about money management.

  • 25% of Gen Z surveyed feel unprepared to manage their finances.

  • You can take control of your own finances by improving your financial literacy.

Managing money isn’t something that we are born knowing how to do efficiently. Instead, it’s a learned skill that we practice over time. While money management is something that everyone has to learn, many Gen Z members in America feel like the education system failed to teach them the basics of money management.

Many Gen Z Members Feel Unprepared to Manage Their Finances

Financial literacy is an essential part of building a bright financial future. Without baseline knowledge of personal finances, building a stable financial future can be easier said than done. But the reality is that many young Americans feel unprepared to manage their finances.

70% of Gen Z reported that the education system failed to teach them how to manage their money.

In large part, this discomfort is due to the fact that 70% of Gen Z reported that the education system failed to teach them how to manage their money, according to a recent survey by EduBirdie. Since effective money management is something that is learned, it’s understandable that many young Americans feel like a lack of financial training has let them down.

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Where the Education System Lets Young Americans Down: The Financial Challenges

Many argue that the American education system lets students down in many ways. But in terms of personal finance, the EduBirdie survey found that Gen Z reported the following issues with the education system, as it pertains to money:

  • No salary negotiation skills: 72% of young people reported they weren’t taught the skills to negotiate their salary.
  • Lack of financial literacy: 42% of young people reported wanting the education system to improve their financial literacy skills.
  • Communication skills: According to the survey, 42% of young people want the education system to improve on teaching communication skills.

While financial literacy is critical, it’s not the only area young people reportedly want to see improvements in the American education system.

How to Improve Your Own Handle on Finances

Regardless of how much the education system taught you about financial management, it’s never too late to learn. If you want to improve your financial management skills and build a brighter financial future, consider the following strategies:

  • Build your knowledge: The good news is that building your financial literacy is possible. A few ways to build your knowledge include reading books and listening to podcasts about money.
  • Be honest about your situation: Take an honest look at your financial situation. Understanding where your finances stand can help you move forward confidently.
  • Start building savings: Emergency savings can help you handle any unexpected expense that life throws your way. Setting aside funds consistently to build your savings can improve your financial future. Consider opening a high-yield savings account to make the most of your savings.

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  • Pay off high-interest debt: If you have high-interest debt, make a debt repayment plan. Consistently making extra payments can help you eliminate your high-interest debt ahead of schedule. If you are juggling multiple payments, consider a debt consolidation loan to streamline your finances.


Many Gen Zers feel unprepared to manage their finances. The education system might have failed to provide the money management tools you need. But now is the time to take charge of your financial future. You can build your own financial literacy to improve your money management skills.

Start by consuming relevant content about your personal finances. As you move forward, consider opening a high-yield savings account to lay the foundation for a brighter financial future.

Written by Sarah Sharkey linkedin-icon

Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer with a Master's in Management from the Hough School of Business at the University of Florida. She enjoys helping people make better financial decisions and has written for numerous personal finance publications, including Money Under 30, Business Insider, and The College Investor. Sarah enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading when she is not writing.