Tallo Data: Generation Z + Personal Finances

Are students already saving for retirement? Are Gen Zers, Millennials’ younger counterparts, financially literate? Do they want to be? Where are they going for advice about money? Is it true that teenagers are getting information about stock market trading from TikTok? Do male and female Gen Zers approach their investments in the same way? With 2021 tax day right around the corner and the GameStop/stock market frenzy just barely in our rearview mirror, we asked our community of Generation Z Tallo users to share how they feel about personal finance, investments, the stock market, and more. Here’s what we heard back from over 3,200 Gen Z high school and college students:


Gen Zers really want to learn more about personal finance. 

Generation Z made it very clear that they are not ambivalent about their personal finances. They’re taking financial literacy seriously and they’re looking to learn more, but current supply isn’t keeping up with their demand. Eighty nine percent of Gen Zers said it’s a priority for them to learn about personal finance and 75% are interested in taking personal finance classes. However, only 36% have ever taken a personal finance class. There are also strong differences between females’ responses and males’ responses on this topic: Female Gen Zers reported they’re slightly more interested in taking personal finance classes (79% of females compared to 73% of males), but males were more likely to have taken a personal finance class at some point (41% of males compared to 34% of females). 

This lack of personal finance education may be hindering Gen Z’s ability to set long term financial goals for themselves. Eighty two percent of Gen Zers are not currently saving for retirement, and almost three quarters of them (71%) haven’t set retirement goals. Despite their young age, the majority of Gen Zers (63%) feel anxious about their personal finances. This number was significantly higher amongst female Gen Zers (73%) than their male counterparts (52%).


Gen Zers are getting their financial advice in a totally unique way.

When we asked Gen Zers to share where they turn to for personal financial advice, the number one response was their parents, guardians, or family members, which tracks with the fact that many Gen Zers still live with their parents/guardians, and may still be financially dependent on them. However, the second most common source for financial advice amongst Gen Zers may surprise you. Right underneath familial guidance, guidance from social media sites like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube was the number two response. In fact, 38% of Gen Zers have received financial advice from TikTok. Gen Zers reported that they’re most likely to turn to TikTok to get advice on long term savings (retirements, 401Ks, Roth IRAs, etc.), budgeting, and short term savings.   


What’s the deal with Gen Z and the stock market?

Earlier this year, we witnessed a stock market frenzy when amateur traders — many of whom were Gen Zers and Millennials — rushed to buy up GameStop stock and blindsided Wall Street professionals. According to our recent survey, 16% of Gen Zers are actively trading in the stock market, and male Gen Zers are three times more likely to actively trade in the stock market than Gen Z females — 24% of Gen Z males actively trade in the stock market, while only 8% of Gen Z females do. Additionally, amidst the recent stock marketing frenzy, 14% of Gen Z males reported actively investing in stocks, while only 4% of females reported the same. 


How does Gen Z decide where to invest?

Male and female Gen Zers also reported strong differences in their approach to choosing a company to invest in. While both male and female Gen Zers claimed that the most important factor when investing in a specific company is trends in earnings growth, females reported they’re more concerned with a company’s projected values. Females are more likely to consider investing in a company that aligns with their personal values, even if they don’t show strong earning potential (67% of females reported interest, while only 58% males reported the same). Similarly, 64% of males would consider investing in a company that shows strong earnings potential, even if it doesn’t align with their personal values, while only 48% of females reported that same interest. 

What’s more, while Gen Zers across the board named Amazon, Apple, and Tesla as the three companies they would be most likely to invest in, females expressed more interest in Amazon, while males reported greater interest in Tesla. 


Gen Z’s banking and investment methods differ from their parents’.

While members of Generation Z may be turning to their families for financial advice, they’re also utilizing technology platforms that didn’t exist when their parents were their age. For example, 72% of Gen Zers use an online/mobile bank. Eleven percent don’t use a bank at all, and the remaining 17% use a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. Forty one percent of Gen Zers use personal finance apps, and amongst Gen Zers who trade in the stock market, they named Robinhood as their most-used trading app. This popularity of financial tech popularity aligns with the fact that $344 million was invested in fintech startups in 2020 alone. 



Tallo platform data: Tallo has over 1.4 million talent users. Our user population includes talent in middle school or high school (47%) and post high school (53%). Tallo talent is represented in all 50 states and all data is self-reported.

Student Survey: This survey was conducted by Tallo between 2/15/2021 and 3/1/2021 which produced 3,236 respondents. Tallo users that responded to this survey indicated an interest in obtaining a scholarship and are a current high school or college student in the United States.

Data Analysis: We leverage our platform to supplement survey data with data attributes that talent self-reports on their user profile including gender, race/ethnicity, and geography. Our survey responses are intended to be as inclusive as possible. This survey data was combined with a modeled estimate of national population, education level, and demographics to create an “enhanced snapshot” of current conditions. With our calculated margin of error, we can assume the survey respondents represent 95% of high school and college students in the United States.

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