Millennials and Gen Z Have Stopped Saving for the Future

The world's on fire. Why not make it rain?

Hand holding money on fire
Young adults “don’t see a point in saving until things return to normal.”

In the immortal words of Drake, “Money coming, money going, ain’t like you can take it with you.”

It’s a mantra some Millennials and Gen Zers are living by, according to the New York Times, which reported many adults under the age of 35 have stopped saving for the future.

A study by Fidelity Investments discovered that 45% of people aged 18 to 35 “don’t see a point in saving until things return to normal.” According to the study, 55% of that age group also said they planned to put their retirement on hold. Instead, they’re spending in the moment per the Times, who spoke with several young adults about their anti-frugal mindsets. In lieu of saving for retirement or a house, many young adults are focused on spending their money on life experiences like dining out with friends and festival tickets.

It’s easy to lambast the younger generations for what some might consider a risky or, plainly, dumb financial move, but can we really blame them?

Generation Z and Millennials haven’t had an easy go at it since, uh, they were born. They’ve lived through multiple wars, two recessions and a pandemic and are now faced with worrying about the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine, sky-high inflation and an unaffordable housing market. To quote another iconic artist, it’s brutal out here.

“I’m not going to deprive myself some of the comforts of life now for a future that feels like it could be ripped away from me at any moment,” one 27-year-old told the Times.

The spend-it-now attitude also isn’t just a cool, new trend all the young kids are into these days. Experts say each generation has had its own nihilistic outlook on life and the future at one point in time.

“Every generation has had an apocalyptic view of their lives,” Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist explained to the Times, citing how the Cold War and 2008 financial crisis caused people to reconsider their future plans.

“We’re not wired to save,” he added. “We’re wired to consume. If you have an exciting vision of the future, those are the people who aggressively save for retirement. If you have an apocalyptic vision of the future, why would you save for it? Of course you wouldn’t.”

So perhaps if everything stops being so bad all the time, Gen Zers and Millennials will revert back to their frugal ways. For now, though, YOLO.

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