The youngest generations have been facing a slew of difficulties because of the pandemic, which for many has triggered a halt in their plans or even completely overturned their financial independence. This translated in part in reconsidering their living situations, and a new survey shows that a whopping almost 50% of Gen Z adults — those aged 18 to 24 — actually considered moving back home.
The new GOBankingRates survey finds that of the half of Gen Z respondents who considered moving back home with their family, 18.6% say they did and are still living with them, and 13.9% say they did but moved back out.
Carter Seuthe, CEO of Credit Summit, told GOBankingRates that Gen Z is currently facing a major financial and housing crisis that could shape up to be worse than the one millennials faced when they entered the workforce.
“Minimum wage isn’t a living wage. Rent is over 60% of most people’s income, if you can even find an apartment. Prices just keep rising while wages remain stagnant. And that’s not even mentioning that the selfish behavior of many Americans puts workers at risk of catching COVID,” Seuthe said. “Yes, every generation has had its hardships, but Gen Z is inheriting something fundamentally broken. Is it any wonder they’re moving back home? Saving for a year or more is the only way many of them can ever hope to see upward mobility due to a lack of high-paying jobs.”
The sentiment is echoed by Jake Hill, CEO of DebtHammer, who said he is not surprised by this finding and also likens the phenomenon to what millennials faced during the financial crisis.
“Many millennials graduated in the midst of the market crash and recession. They weren’t able to find jobs and had no choice,” Hill said. “Zoomers are graduating into an even more hostile world where it’s dangerous to work many jobs, the price of rent is astronomical and in some cities, it’s impossible to find vacant units. When you’re spending 60%-80% of your take-home pay, why wouldn’t you move back home if your parents will allow it? Even if they charge you some money every month, it will be much less than a landlord.”
The GOBankingRates survey further notes that 16.6% of Gen Z respondents say they did not move back with their family but did consider it, while 20.7% of them say they didn’t move back and didn’t consider it.
“If I was still a Gen Z, I would have moved back home during the pandemic too. Normally, young people may feel shame in moving back home but this was a guilt-free opportunity to curb spending, reconnect with family and save for the future,” said Pri Gupta, financial blogger and managing principal in financial services consultancy. “While I do not expect Gen Z to continue living with parents as the world reopens, those who took the chance to save and invest will move out with permanently changed financial habits. We have already seen a record number of first-time investors in the stock market and Gen Zers will likely continue to direct a portion of their previous discretionary spending toward investments,” Gupta added.
It’s important to note that the survey also shows that 30.7% of Gen Z respondents have always lived with their family — so, they’ve had yet to move out for the first time.
One upside of moving back home is the ability to save for homeownership, as reflected in a Zillow survey, which finds that 3 in 5 Gen Zers plan to use money saved during the pandemic toward a down payment on a home. Even in an unprecedented global pandemic, homeownership still appears to be a priority and aspiration.
In addition, nearly three-quarters of Gen Z prefers homebuying over renting long term, with a significant number of these aspiring homeowners planning to enter the housing market within the next five years, according to a Realtor.com survey. The survey also notes that 64% of Gen Zers said their COVID experience has not impacted their homeownership plans. More than one-quarter of those surveyed feel even more strongly about buying a home as a result of the pandemic. However, as many Gen Zers are either in their college years or just starting their careers in the face of the pandemic’s economic uncertainties, job stability is their No. 1 barrier to buying, according to the Realtor.com survey.
Another factor that might have played into GOBankingRates’ findings is the fact that aside from rent, food — including takeout and dining out — dominated Gen Z’s spending habits.
Indeed, 26.1% of Gen Z respondents said this was where they spend the majority of their money (with rent not being a factor).
Other top spending categories for Gen Z respondents include saving or investing, with 15.9%; entertainment, including video games and streaming platforms, with 12.5%; utility bills, with 11.3%; credit card bills, with 10.3%; student loan payments, with 8.2%; and car/car-related costs, with 7.1%.
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