Women, Millennial and Gen Z Workers Struggle to Reach Personal Financial Goals

New Prudential Financial data shows a gender gap — in outlooks on work and money and gaps between generations — in the workforce 

Many Millennials, Gen Z and women in the workforce are struggling to reach their financial goals.

Young workers and women face financial struggles to reach personal goals which can affect their retirement readiness, new data shows. Millennials and Gen Z workers are struggling with financial stability and security, including regularly running out of money, Prudential Financial finds, in the recent Prudential Pulse research survey, Generational Gap Grows: Work & Money Outlook Divided.

The research shows 49% of Millennials and 48% of Gen Z workers don’t think that their salary is sufficient to achieve their financial goals.

“[Y]ounger generations feel acute challenges — and anxiety — about managing money, struggling to balance ‘living in the now’ with saving for the long term,” Prudential Financial stated in a press release.

The research shows 49% of Millennials and 39% of Gen Z workers somewhat or strongly agree they regularly run out of money and must rely on credit cards or family for financial support, compared to 26% of Baby Boomers and 37% of Gen X.

Additionally, 46% of Gen Z workers and 42% of Millennials said they wouldn’t be able to afford their lifestyle without financial help from their parents or grandparents, Prudential finds.

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The survey finds that young workers are changing employers to get pay raises: 44% of Gen Z and 41% of Millennials say switching employers is the way to increase earnings, versus 36% of all workers. Prudential finds 33% of Millennials and 46% of Gen Z workers surveyed switched employers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to 23% of Gen X, 15% of Baby Boomers and 29% of all workers. 

The survey finds that half of Millennials have had trouble sleeping because of financial stress in the past year. Data shows 68% of Millennials and Gen Z do not keep a budget and nearly 40% “would rather go to the dentist” than spend time creating one.

Financial stability struggles could be causing many of the people surveyed to jeopardize their personal financial goals, as 55% of Millennials say debt is preventing them from accomplishing personal financial goals, compared to 44% of all adults, the survey finds.

“Without keeping an eye on finances, it can be easy for good spending and savings habits to slip,” says Brandon Goldstein, a financial planner with Prudential Financial, in the press release. “As a millennial myself, I know how tough it can be to balance financial responsibility with having a social life.”

Another 33% of Millennials and 32% of Gen Z workers say student loan debt specifically is preventing them from achieving personal goals, compared to 19% of all adults, the survey finds.   

Prudential Financial data showed many women, across ages, are facing precarious financial situations in the current economic environment.

“The pandemic had a disproportionate impact on women, both professionally and financially,” says Caroline Feeney, CEO of Prudential U.S. Insurance and Retirement.

The research shows 41% of women strongly agree that the economic environment has made them more concerned about their financial security, compared to 34% of men. Meanwhile, 53% of women, versus 43% of men, say they cannot afford their current lifestyle or are barely getting by financially.

Additionally, 56% of women say they have an emergency savings fund compared to 73% of men and 49.

The Prudential Pulse survey was conducted on behalf of Prudential by Morning Consult from September 29 to October 1, with a national sample of 4,796 self-identified adults, age 18 and over. The sample included 477 Gen Z; 1,458 Millennials; 1,223 Gen X; and 1,430 Baby Boomers. It also included 2,356 employed adults. The interviews were conducted online.