The one thing Gen Z doesn’t want to talk about

Teddy Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy,” and it rings true for Gen Z—over a third reported feeling “left behind” because they don’t measure up to the lavish lifestyles they see online and it’s made money talk a taboo topic.

Driving the news: Gen Zers are keeping their spending habits shrouded in secrecy, with 64% preferring to discuss politics, mental health struggles, or their sex lives over bad investments or debt.

  • Despite leading the charge in salary transparency, more than half (54%) said they lie about how much they earn. 

  • But paradoxically, 69% wish others were more open and honest about their finances. 

Why it’s happening: Gen Z is the first cohort to grow up as digital natives with unfettered access online and more information at their fingertips than any other generation—that’s led to feelings of financial inadequacy driven by exposure to hyper-curated lifestyles of the rich and famous.

  • That also makes it difficult to filter the good information from the bad—for instance, 53% believe carrying a balance on your credit card each month helps boost your credit score (it does not).

Yes, but: There’s good news for Zoomers—you’ve got time. Money mistakes you’ve made in your past can be repaired with a realistic budget, strict saving and an investment plan. 

Here are some tips for tackling the money taboo:

  • Stop following accounts that feed your insecurities. It’s great to have aspirations, but being inundated with vacation pics while you’re home on the couch isn’t helpful and can lead to reckless spending decisions.

  • Talk to your peers. Chances are they’ve got the same worries you do and can offer tips (or at least lend an ear) on how to improve your confidence around money management.

  • Schedule a weekly check-in with your money. Dedicate time to reviewing your spending, developing short and long-term goals, and measuring your progress. When you know where you are, it’s easier to figure out how to get where you want to be.