Research reveals Gen Z are better with money than millennials

Dec 8, 2020 · 4 min read
Image for post
Image for post
New research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Laurel Road reveals how Gen Z and millennials are handling their money during the pandemic (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash).

Seven in 10 (70%) millennials and Gen Zers said COVID-19, specifically, made them realize they needed to reset and reevaluate how they handle their money, according to new research.

The study asked 1,000 Gen Z Americans and 1,000 American millennials about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and 2020 as a whole on their personal finances.

Over half (52%) of respondents said they wish they did a better job handling their money during the pandemic.

In a show of generational difference, millennials were more likely than their Gen Z counterparts to feel like they handled their money poorly, at 59% compared to 46%.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Laurel Road, a digital lending platform, respondents reflected on the pandemic and noted the top reasons for a financial reset included new personal goals (33%), changes to their personal life (32%), and new financial goals (30%).

Although nearly seven in 10 respondents shared they’ve effectively budgeted their money as best they could, given the circumstances of 2020 and quarantine, in particular, 60% also said they wish they could improve their budgeting skills, they just don’t know where to begin.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they made more of an effort to save more money when they could, with 33% creating a budget and 25% even speaking to a financial adviser about their situations.

Image for post
Image for post

A further 20% of those polled shared they refinanced their student loans, and 19% consolidated their student loans.

And for those polled with student loans (approximately 1,500 respondents), 62% said the federal student loan forbearance has made an impact on their ability to save money during the pandemic.

These quick adaptations during this uncertain time seemed to have paid off, as the average Gen Z respondent saved nearly $600 and the average millennial respondent saved just over $1,000, specifically during the pandemic.

“We know COVID-19 has been challenging for us all. For millennials and Gen Z-ers, they too have faced many challenges, but in turn, the pandemic has also prompted an opportunity for a financial reset,” said Alyssa Schaefer, Chief Experience Officer at Laurel Road.

“What’s encouraging to see from our survey results is that so many people have used this time to prioritize their personal finance, including by refinancing their student loans, and actively look to learn new ways to budget and save.”

Respondents also shared the top ways they’ve been investing in themselves during this uncertain time — with 32% putting money toward personal wellness and 25% investing in their professional development by getting certified in additional skills.

Encouragingly, a quarter (25%) of respondents also shared they’ve put more money toward mental health resources as well as attending webinars or online courses to progress their professional development (24%).

Student loans also play a big part in Gen Z and millennials’ financial wellness, as the survey found 62% of those surveyed with student loans shared that quarantine finally allowed them the time to think about their student loan financing options.

“Investing in personal well-being is always important and something we believe in strongly at Laurel Road,” Schaefer added. “Right now, it’s never been more crucial to focus on our ‘mental wealth’ — daily personal, professional and financial decisions that support our peace of mind.

“Making impactful changes to financial planning, such as student loan refinance, can create beneficial savings opportunities, and we’re proud to provide options that do this for our customers.”

Looking ahead to next year, one in five respondents shared that if they had an extra $1,000 to spend in 2021 — they’d use it to pay off more of their student loans.

Additionally, a quarter of respondents said they would invest in their personal wellness and even in the stock market.

  1. Made more of an effort to save money — 37%
  2. Created a budget — 33%
  3. Canceled subscription services they don’t frequently use — 31%
  4. Spoken to a financial advisor — 25%
  5. Refinanced their student loans — 20%
  6. Consolidated their student loans — 19%
  1. Eating out at restaurants less frequently — 32%
  2. Not going to the movies — 30%
  3. Not buying new clothing/shoes — 26%
  4. Not going out to bars — 26%
  5. Canceling their gym membership — 18%
  6. Not wearing makeup — 18%
  7. Canceling a streaming service membership — 18%
  8. Canceling their cable service — 15%
  9. Buying less gas — 25%
  10. Not buying lunch every day — 25%
  11. Ordering less delivery/take out — 25%
  12. Not going to a salon for a service (i.e. nail salon, hair salon) — 24%
  13. Not seeing concerts/plays — 23%
  14. Not buying coffee/breakfast on the way to work — 23%
  15. Not having to commute (i.e. train tickets, tolls) — 22%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
NOTE: All news copy and multimedia on this SWNS account is free to use as you see fit. Where research has been conducted, we ask that you credit the company which commissioned it.

The Capital

A publishing platform for professionals now available on

Sign up for Try The Capital Platform at

By The Capital

Head over to, sign up and publish your first article today! Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.


Written by


SWNS is a UK and US-based news and media content agency with a proud 40-year history.

The Capital

A publishing platform for professionals in business, finance, and tech


Written by


SWNS is a UK and US-based news and media content agency with a proud 40-year history.

The Capital

A publishing platform for professionals in business, finance, and tech

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store