Gen Zers are having a harder time making ends meet, let alone building wealth.

Roughly 38% of Generation Z adults and millennials believe they face more difficulty feeling financially secure than their parents did at the same age, largely due to the economy, according to a recent Bankrate report. Gen Z is generally defined as those born between 1996 and 2012, including a cohort of teens and tweens.

In the face of a higher cost of living, 53% of Gen Z workers also said they have a side hustle — more than any other generation — to help cover their monthly expenses, Bankrate found. Fewer are saving for the future.

Parents need to realize that their kids are in trouble.

Laurence Kotlikoff

professor of economics at Boston University

“This is a tougher climate, for sure,” said Laurence Kotlikoff, economics professor at Boston University and president of MaxiFi, which offers financial planning software. “Parents need to realize that their kids are in trouble.”

Gen Zers face greater obstacles to financial success

Inflation’s recent runup has indeed made it harder for those just starting out. More than half, or 53%, of Gen Zers say higher costs are a barrier to their financial success, according to a separate survey from Bank of America.

In addition to soaring food and housing expenses, millennials and Gen Z face other financial challenges their parents did not as young adults. Not only are their wages lower than their parents’ earnings when they were in their 20s and 30s, but they are also carrying larger student loan balances.

Roughly three-quarters of Gen Z Americans said today’s economy makes them hesitant to set up long-term financial goals and two-thirds said they might never have enough money to retire, another recent Prosperity Index study by Intuit found. 

Young adults also have the advantage of time

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