Gen Z and Finance – Stress, Debt, BNPL, and the Desire for Better Money Skills

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A receipt

Original media release by ASIC (14/11/2023).

New research shows Gen Zs are feeling financially stressed, with high levels of debt including Buy Now Pay Later use.

New nationwide research released by ASIC’s Moneysmart program today shows for seven in ten (68%) Gen Zs, finances are a major cause of concern, more than any other age group (57% of non-Gen Zs).

Faced with rising cost of living, 82% of Aussie Gen Zs, representing Aussies aged 18 to 26 years old, feel financially stressed, but are twice as likely as other generations to want to better manage their finances as a response.

Encouragingly, nine in ten Gen Zs have a strong desire and intent to boost their money skills and financial confidence, despite facing several barriers. Almost half (49%) of Gen Zs who aren’t financially confident say feeling overwhelmed is the biggest barrier to becoming more confident with money, followed closely by not knowing where to start (42%).

The research also revealed Gen Zs want to learn things in the shortest time possible (77%) and are twice as likely as other generations to turn to social media for information and guidance about managing their finances (56% compared to 23% of non-Gen Zs).

ASIC’s Moneysmart helps Gen Z build money knowledge, fast

Moneysmart is launching a new consumer awareness campaign aiming to show Gen Z just how quickly they can learn money basics and build positive financial habits. Informed by and building on the research, the new campaign shows that in the same time it takes to complete short, everyday tasks, action can also be taken to make a budget, set a savings goal, pay off debt, manage a casual income and manage rising costs.

Commenting on the consumer awareness campaign, ASIC Chief Executive Officer, Warren Day, said “Gen Zs are driven to learn more and improve their finances but there’s a clear need to engage and help them feel more confident about money. We want to show them that it doesn’t take a lot of time to make a start with small steps that will make big differences long term.

“We’re encouraging Gen Zs to use the free tools at as a starting point to be more in control of their money. There’s a real reason why Moneysmart has long been one of the highest rated financial sites in the nation, and we hope this campaign drives more people to benefit from its resources.

“Learning how to plan and save, and deal with their expenses, sets up young Aussies for their future. We hope this campaign, through its practical tips, will help people feel more in control of their financial lives.”

Financial position of Gen Zs worse than other generations

Research also reveals that on average, Gen Zs have higher levels of personal debt and greater reliance on credit products than other generations.

Key findings include:

  • Gen Zs have an average personal debt of $8,188 compared to non-Gen Zs ($6,730).
  • One in five (21%, or the equivalent of 600,000) have $10,000 or more in personal debt, including 4% (or the equivalent of 124,000) who have $50,000 or more.
  • One in four (25%, or the equivalent of 720,000) have less than $1,000 in savings, including 8% (or the equivalent of 217,000) who have no savings.
  • Gen Zs are also more likely than non-Gen Zs to use Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) products (28% compared to 21% of non-Gen Zs).
  • BNPL use is also higher in regional Australia, where one in three (34%) Gen Zs use BNPL products compared to one in four (26%) in metro areas.

In response to cost-of-living pressures, Gen Zs are also considering getting a new or additional job (39%).

The campaign will be rolled out on Moneysmart channels from today until mid-December, with the hope of reducing financial pressure during the festive season.


ASIC’s Moneysmart program helps Australian investors and consumers by providing free and independent financial information and tools. Almost 10 million Australians visit the Moneysmart website each year. Moneysmart is recognised as a trusted source of independent information for consumers and investors.

Research methodology

ASIC via YouGov surveyed 1,016 Australians aged 18 to 26 years (Gen Z) and 1,121 Australians aged 27 and older from 5 to 18 October 2023 to understand their financial attitudes and behaviours. The surveys were carried out online. The figures for each survey have been weighted and are representative of their respective cohort.


Key research findings relating to Gen Z (PDF 128 KB)