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Top 4 Financial Tips for Gen Z

Chelsey Zhu  |  March 13, 2023

It’s a challenging time to become an adult. Here are some financial strategies for starting off on the right foot.

As a member of Gen Z, I feel qualified to say that my generation has grown up watching the world burn. In just the past few years, we’ve:

  • Trudged through school during a pandemic 
  • Entered a housing market that’s experienced double-digit rent hikes 
  • Gotten our first fancy job in tech! 
  • Gotten laid off from our first fancy job in tech 
  • Taken out loans just to afford eggs
  • Captured it all on TikTok!

It’s not the best time to enter adulthood, to say the least. If you’re freaking out and have no idea where to start with your money, you’re not alone. A few years ago, 22-year-old entrepreneur Taylor Price realized that she’d never been taught how to use a credit card or pay taxes, and she saw that people her age needed financial advice more than ever. She started a blog, then a TikTok to share personal finance tips with her peers, and she’s since gained more than a million followers.

Price stopped by the HerMoney Podcast to dispense some wisdom about how we can tackle our generation’s biggest money problems and build long-term wealth. We’ve got her top takeaways below. 

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Build a Financial Plan From the Ground Up

We’re told to do a dozen different things with our money: save for a rainy day, invest in stocks, find a high-paying job, buy a house, set aside money for retirement, and so on and so forth. Is it even possible to do everything at once, and how do we prioritize? 

Price has an easy way of organizing her financial life into one bigger picture — she visualizes a “money” tree. First, start with the roots, aka an emergency fund, health insurance, car insurance, and other necessary protections. “When a storm comes by, those will hold you to the ground,” says Price.

Next is the trunk, or your primary source of income, which makes the whole tree stronger and more stable as your income grows. And at the top, you have branches and leaves — additional sources of income that shouldn’t make or break your finances if they happen to fly away in the wind. 

“That can be investing in the stock market, or investing in your side hustle and trying to make it into a full-time business,” says Price. “These things are a lot riskier than your roots…but when you get more risk, there are more rewards that can come in return.” 

Separate Your Money Into Buckets

Another way to track where your money is going is to organize it into buckets. This could mean setting up different bank accounts for various goals, or even physically “stuffing” your dollar bills into envelopes marked for specific expenses. Price separates her income into two big categories: necessities and play money. Necessities are things like rent, utilities, groceries, and insurance. Play money includes anything that’s more of a want than a need, like a vacation. She also has buckets for short-term versus long-term goals (a new purse versus a down payment), as well as savings versus investments (a high-yield savings account versus a 401(k) or brokerage account). 

If all these different categories seem hard to keep up with, Price has one word of advice: automate. The fewer clicks it takes to deposit money into your savings and retirement accounts, the more likely you are to grow your wealth. 

Change Your Money Mindset

Feeling pessimistic about the economy? That’s more than understandable, but don’t let it stop you from improving your financial situation. Having a positive money mindset can help you focus on and eventually accomplish your goals — and there’s science that supports that. There’s a part of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) that serves as a messenger between the conscious and subconscious parts of your mind. If you establish clear goals and a genuine intention to follow through, the RAS will subconsciously position your thoughts and emotions so you’re better primed for success. 

An example: You want to find a different job. Stating that goal, writing it down, and internalizing it will cause it to stay in the front of your mind. You might browse job search sites more often than you normally would, suddenly remember the name of an acquaintance working in a field you’re interested in, or overhear a conversation about a networking opportunity you hadn’t considered before. 

“If you create a vision board, or you put [a goal] on the back of your phone case, or you put a little sticky note on your mirror every morning that says, ‘I can and I will save for a house’ — you will place yourself subconsciously in different opportunities that you didn’t see before,” says Price.

If you’re skeptical about this, I get it. No amount of optimism or goal-setting will magically stop inflation or prevent a recession. You can’t control the economy, and it’s okay to feel stressed about it. But focusing on your own money mindset can help you get a better grip on the things you can control. Put $10 more each week into your savings. Ask one friend to take a look at your resume. Take 30 minutes to read about opening a brokerage account. You can do this — one step at a time. 

Social Media Is the Start, Not the End

79% of millennials and Gen Z-ers have gotten financial advice from social media, according to a survey by Forbes. And nearly 40% of young adults use TikTok or Instagram as search engines, per Google’s internal research. 

Social media can be a great way to discover useful financial tips, but it shouldn’t be the end of your research. Price recommends reaching out to friends and family members with any money questions inspired by online videos. You should also compare what you find with reputable financial sites like the Wall Street Journal, CNN Business, and MarketWatch — and of course, HerMoney! 


SUBSCRIBE: Want money advice that works for women of all ages? Subscribe to HerMoney today!

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