Has Generation Z Given Up On Retirement? - InvestingChannel

Has Generation Z Given Up On Retirement?

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Has Generation Z Given Up On Retirement?

Before we explore this question by looking at the latest Gen Z trend, it helps to go back to basics. 

We called the ETFs in today’s Trackstar top five retirement ETFs because all of them can be good choices — individually or together — to save for retirement. Even if you fall short of how much money you need to quit work altogether, long-term investing in these ETFs can help build a nest egg — over time and with patience — can help pay for at least some of your expenses in old age or when you simply want to scale back work. 

It’s precisely this conundrum we’ll spend a lot of time discussing in 2024 in The Juice as we focus on retirement. 

A story we saw the other day ties right into our theme. 

This idea that Gen Z, according to a Fortune article, is “so annoyed that they can’t get on the housing market that they’re ‘doom spending’ on nice things that make them feel like grown-ups.” 

In Tuesday’s Juice, we discussed at least some of Gen Z’s desire to move abroad. And we discovered that Gen Z might be more talk than action:

… just 34% say they plan to move abroad indefinitely with most of the rest only planning to dip their toes on foreign soil for 1 to 5 years. Call it a long vacation, which actually ties into a very Generation Z view on spending that we’ll discuss — in relation to retirement — in tomorrow’s Juice.

So, here we are. 

If you think your life prospects generally suck, you might be more likely to: 

  • Want to move to another country. 
  • Engage in doom spending. 

Maybe part of this doom spending is traveling abroad somewhat extensively. Not simply a vacation, but for an indefinite period of time until you get sick of it and want to come home. Which might or might not involve moving back in with your parents. 

Like so many trends the media attributes to Gen Z, this is not only a Gen Z thing. People have been spending money on experiences, putting off saving for retirement and running into housing affordability issues for decades. What better way to ease the stress than a month in the South of France. 

Exactly what is doom spending? 

Gen Z and young millennials are “doom spending” by splashing out on luxury escapes, Taylor Swift concert tickets and designer goods to cope with their financial limitations.

“When older people ask me how young people are affording nice things that they wouldn’t even buy for themselves, “I tell them it’s because we can’t afford anything else,” Maria Melchor, a 27-year-old financial content creator explained to millions of TikTok users.

If that first sentence doesn’t make your mind blow as your head spins we don’t know what will. 

It shows an ignorance toward the most basic personal financial concepts, such as compounding and dollar cost averaging. 

This isn’t the stupid latte effect the most annoying money gurus blabber on and on about. While, yeah, it might be nice to invest $5 a day rather than spend it on coffee, it’s not making or breaking the financial futures of people with enough money to see Taylor Swift, travel overseas or wear Christian Louboutin. 

It’s the big splurges and fixed expenses that count, such as seeing Taylor Swift, traveling overseas or wearing Christian Louboutin. And paying $3,000 a month for a luxury apartment in a major city or metro area. Or dropping $1,000 a month on a “nice” car. 

If you have thousands or even just hundreds to spend each month above what you actually need to spend to subsist in life, you can save for the future. Maybe you still can’t afford to buy a house where you want to live, but since when did not being able to afford a house take the inane leap to blowing up your entire financial picture?

If you just find a way to hold $1,000 back each month — and, no doubt, Gen Z and young millennials with decent or better jobs, living in major metro areas can — you can set yourself up for serious near- and long-term success. 

Even if you don’t invest in ETFs or tech stocks. Think about $1,000 a month in a high-yield savings account that gets, say, 4.0%. Even with rates about to come down, we don’t think these deals from the big online banking players will go away anytime soon. 

After five years, $1,000 a month at 4% magically turns into $67,396. In ten years, you’re at $148,176. In 15 years, $246,455. In 20 years, $366,033. That’s the power of compounding, which we’ll discuss more as we work our way through our retirement installments. 

That’s some powerful math. 


The Bottom Line: It takes considerably more discipline to save $1,000 a month every month for a whole bunch of years. It’s one thing if you simply don’t have the cash after judiciously watching your spending. It’s entirely another if you’ve thrown your hands up in the air and said I can’t buy a house so screw everything. 

There’s nothing wrong with renting forever as long as it coincides with a basic personal financial plan. It can be as basic as religious savings in a high-yield account. Or maybe just put $500 a month in savings and invest the rest in a solid group of stocks or ETFs designed to help build long-term wealth.

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