Survey: Generation Z Keen on Learning About Personal Finance and Credit

Survey: Generation Z Keen on Learning About Personal Finance and Credit article image.

It's not shocking that some members of Generation Z—the youngest adult generation—aren't completely comfortable with the concepts of debt and credit. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Experian, only 19% of Gen Z consumers reported feeling that they had a solid grasp on credit in general.

Financial literacy varies from household to household, and depending on where you went to school, essential lessons on personal finance and credit sometimes just aren't taught. This reality makes it difficult for some consumers to jumpstart their credit histories, often complicating things like buying a car or home down the line.

To find out more about Generation Z and their financial literacy, Experian surveyed a group of 545 recent high school graduates ages 18 and 19 to see what they know and what they want to learn when it comes to finance and credit. Read on for our insights and analysis.

The Majority of Generation Z Consumers Reported Not Having a Credit Card

While the majority of Gen Z consumers surveyed—61%—reported having a checking account, only 30% said that they had a credit card. A smaller percentage—22%—reported having a student loan, and another 4% said they currently had an auto loan.

Overall, the members of Gen Z that participated in this survey seemed to be fairly inexperienced with credit. This was not the case when it came to conventional banking, however, as almost all of the consumers surveyed had some sort of checking or savings account.

Managing a bank account shows that these young adults are moving in a positive direction with their personal finances. This financially focused sentiment was also echoed in many of the other answers given by the group.

Nearly Half of Gen Z Consumers Find Personal Finance Interesting

While many of them may not have too much experience with finance or credit, a total of 49% of Gen Z consumers surveyed said that they found financial topics to be somewhat interesting or interesting—and 11% of them even said they loved learning about them.

This appetite for personal finance was just as evident when the consumers were asked whether they felt their schools were giving them enough practical education on the topic. Only about one-third—36%—of Gen Z consumers said they had taken a class on a financial topic, and among that group, many of them still had looming financial questions.

Of the 64% that had never taken a financial education class, 43% reported wanting to learn to save money, 38% wanted to learn how to manage their expenses, and another 36% said they wanted to take a class that taught them how to file their taxes.

Three out of Four Gen Z Consumers Think High Schools Should Teach Financial Classes

When it came to whether they wanted increased schooling on financial topics, a large majority—76%—of Gen Z consumers said that they thought their high school should have offered a class on managing finances.

The level of financial literacy varied among the group surveyed, and 74% of the participants said they learned most of what they know about finances from their parents. Another 65% of people said they learned through school, and a surprising 28% said they used their friends as a source of financial education.

Generation Z Seems Keen on Getting a Handle on Their Personal Finances

Though many of the young adults surveyed seemed to be inexperienced with personal finance and credit, the generation's outlook is positive. Many of them reported wanting more financial education, and a good majority were already showing evidence of resourcefulness for finding information on their own.

When it came to looking forward, 76% of the Gen Z consumers were at least moderately confident in the future of their finances—of that, 25% reported being very confident and 18% were highly confident.

Driven in part by a fear of having money issues later in life—51% of respondents said they were worried about not having enough money to do what they enjoy later in life—it's clear that these consumers are keen to get a handle on their personal finances sooner than later.

What's Next for Gen Z Consumers?

Having a checking or savings account—as many of these young adults do—can be a great first step in learning how to manage one's personal finances. A checking account and debit card can help consumers begin to pay their own utility bills, and can give them a sense of financial responsibility that will come in handy when it comes to managing their credit later on.

For Gen Z consumers—or any young adults with little to no credit—using a checking account to pay bills may also be the key to jumpstarting their credit histories. Utility payments have historically never been included in credit reports, but a new innovation, Experian Boost®ø, changed that and is giving consumers the chance to get credit for the utility and telecom payments they've already made.

Experian Boost works by looking through your checking account for qualifying on-time payments that you've made to utility or telecom companies in the past. Once found, these payments are added to your credit file and can instantly boost your FICO® Score and help your overall credit health.

If you have little to no credit history, but have been paying you utility or telecom bills with your checking account, check out Experian Boost to find out if your payments qualify to be added to your credit report.