Is Gen Z Too Optimistic About Their Money? Survey Highlights How Wealth Expectations Have Changed

Zinger Key Points
  • 72% of Gen Z believe they will be wealthy one day, according to a 2022 LendingTree survey.
  • 36% of Gen X and 19% of baby boomers said they would be wealthy one day.

This story is part of a new series of features on the subject of success, Benzinga Inspire

A survey of over 2,000 consumers revealed Gen Z (ages 18-25) are the most optimistic generation when it comes to their financial future.

What Happened: A whopping 72% of Gen Z believe they will be wealthy one day, according to a 2022 LendingTree Inc TREE survey, compared to 44% of Americans overall.
Maggie Davis, who ran the survey, said the "most financially optimistic groups," in this case Gen Z, are also the most likely to believe they're already wealthy, with 18% of Gen Z saying they consider themselves to be rich, compared to just 9% of Gen X who believes they're currently wealthy.

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Thirty-six percent of Gen X (ages 42 to 56), and 19% of baby boomers (ages 57 to 76) said they would be wealthy one day.

The survey also found that while wealth is subjective, most Americans agreed that being able to live comfortably without worrying about finances constitutes wealthiness.

However, older generations are more inclined to associate wealth with high income, with 23% of baby boomers and 22% of Gen X believing that earning $500,000 or more defines wealth.

Despite living through the COVID-19 pandemic and experiencing job losses, rising inflation, and global shortages, the youngest generation remains optimistic about their financial future.

Meanwhile, older consumers are more pessimistic, with high earners — those who make six figures or more per year — being twice as likely to view their future negatively.

Owning a home is generally considered the best strategy for building wealth by most Americans, but Gen Z believes investing in stocks is a better strategy than homeownership.

Saving for retirement remains the most popular choice, with more than three in 10 Americans utilizing this strategy to build wealth.

The survey highlighted how wealth expectations have changed over time, with millennials (age 27-42) seeing the biggest drop in expectations, from 66% believing they would be rich in 2019 to 59% in 2022.

Americans, in general, are less optimistic about their financial future than they were before the pandemic, with just 44% believing they will be wealthy one day, compared to 51% in 2019.

While the survey found that debt is not necessarily an obstacle to wealth, only 38% of respondents considered being debt-free as part of their definition of wealth.

Finally, the survey showed that generational wealth plays a big factor, with those raised by high-income parents being more optimistic about their financial future and more comfortable with mortgage debt.

Next: Billionaire Warren Buffett Still Lives In A 1920s House He Paid $31K For

Photo: Josie Elias via Shutterstock

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