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How Millennials, Gen Z Cope with Money Stress During the Pandemic

To save or invest?
by Arianne Merez
Aug 25, 2021
Photo/s: Shutterstock

Fear of running out of money during the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing Filipino millennials and Gen Zs to save more, a survey by insurer Manulife showed, with the global crisis prompting the youth to prioritize needs over wants.

Both generations want to ensure having enough money "in case anything happens" during the pandemic, a survey of 300 Gen Zs and 200 millennials across the country showed.

"They have become more financially conscious because their top stressor is running out of money. What we’re finding is that they are trying to save more," Melissa Henson, Manulife chief marketing officer said in a panel interview with reporters on Wednesday.

"They are more conscious about spending, budgeting, and focusing on essentials," she said.

Aside from running out of money, other major worries of Gen Zs and millennials during the pandemic are getting sick, dying or losing a loved one, declining mental health, and drowning in debt.

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"The pandemic has really sped up adulting for these two generations and has shifted priorities to needs from wants," Henson said.

Differences in money habits

With saving money as a major priority for both generations, a majority of millennials and Gen Zs at 86% also said that it’s important for them to see where their money goes. 

But the two generations have different priorities and approaches in terms of handling their money with millennials pursuing a more "balanced" approach to saving and investing according to Henson.

Millennials, or those between the ages of 26 to 40, are more focused on growing their money and settling down -- with many young members of the generation saying that managing their personal finances is a stress reliever.

"Many of them said that managing their personal finance is actually a way of managing stress. They’re able to manage their expectations and that leads to less anxiety," Henson said.

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The Gen Zs, who are as young as 9 years old and as old as 25, however prefer mental health-related activities as a way to manage stress such as yoga and meditation, the study showed.

With Gen Z being the younger generation, many are still researching about finance but the study showed that unlike millennials, Gen Zs are pursuing financial security at a younger age.

"I think it's because Gen Z really grew up and were born into a digital world so the information is already available," Henson said.

Some 92% of Gen Zs have expressed interest in getting insurance in the next one to two years, the survey showed.

"Many are future-focused and making certain possibilities happen for themselves," Henson said.


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