For years, Gen Z, or “zoomers,” kept their older relatives occupied with throwaway Facebook accounts while they and their peers played in the digital warrens of Snapchat and the like. And when their elders started learning about “snapping” and ephemeral social sharing, the zoomers had already moved on to TikTok.
Historically, the younger generations have embraced new technologies and nascent platforms while their elders were, for the most part, only concerned with keeping them from growing up too fast.
But what about money and financial tech? Could Gen Z be quietly mastering new fintech tools and solutions that’ll help inflate whatever the next bubble is? Could their bold and unconventional money moves help them retire before you do?
Check out these money moves zoomers are making, and find out why they aren’t all bad.
1. They’re Savvier and Feel Empowered to Invest Early
While earlier generations may have waited until they were good and ready to invest their money, Gen Z has trended toward investing early.
About 22% of zoomer investors stated that they dipped their toes into the market in their teens, compared to just 9 percent of Millenials, according to a survey conducted by MagnifyMoney.
Gen Z has learned that you really don’t need that much money to start investing — and you can even get free stocks, if you know where to look.
Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.
2. They Take More Risks
When it comes to investing, millennials are focused on passing personal milestones, and earlier generations still believe in playing the long game. But Gen Z investors appear to be much bigger risk-takers, according to a Barclays survey.
Nearly half (49%) of Gen Z investors indicated they only intended to invest their money for two to five years, while around 16% of them flat out admitted that they just want to get rich quick, the survey found.
You’ve probably heard the best way to grow your money is to stick it in the stock market and leave it there for, well, ever. But there’s a middle ground between yeeting a YOLO on your dough and locking your money away in a dank cellar to age.
Maybe you’re just looking for a place to safely stash your savings away — but still earn money. Sure, you could stick it under your mattress or in a safe, but millionaires know better.
Here’s their secret: A debit card called Aspiration lets you earn up to 5% cashback every time you swipe the card and up to 16 times the average interest on the money in your account. Plus, you’ll never pay a monthly account maintenance fee.
To see how much you could earn, enter your email address here, link your bank account and add at least $10 to your account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
3. They’d Rather Not Consult You About Their Credit
Maybe don’t try to talk to zoomers about debt snowballs or avalanches? And certainly, don’t even try to lecture them about keeping their credit card usage low — they likely already know.
They also know that one of the toughest parts about paying down your debts is simply knowing where to begin, so these digital natives have no qualms about using online credit monitoring services to keep their scores healthy.
Which of your credit cards is carrying a balance? Is your name attached to any unpaid loans? Are you behind on medical or utility bills you didn’t know about?
That’s where a free website like Credit Sesame can help. It takes about two minutes to sign up and access your free credit score. From there, Credit Sesame will outline your debt — exactly what you owe and to whom — and offer personalized recommendations. It’ll even break down the interest rates and minimum monthly payments attached to your bills.
Armed with this intel, you’ll be able to more easily devise your payoff plan. Do you want to use the debt avalanche method, where you’ll pay off your highest interest rates first? Or maybe you prefer the debt snowball method, where you start with the smallest balances first.
You can continue to use Credit Sesame to keep track of your progress and hold yourself accountable. And, hey, it might be kind of fun watching your credit score react to all your hard work!
It takes 90 seconds to get started with Credit Sesame.
4. They’re Definitely Going to Shop Around
Some of the members of Generation Z had social media accounts before they could even talk, so you shouldn’t be surprised that this generation tends to be savvy online shoppers who prefer the best price over a good price.
When’s the last time you checked car insurance prices? Shopping like a zoomer could help you secure a great price on auto insurance.
You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies looking for a better deal.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.
EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.
Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.
5. They Like to Make Money Off Their Personalities
Talk to the zoomers in your life. And if you haven’t picked up on it already, you’ll probably learn that a lot of them would just love to amass throngs of online followers and land sponsorship deals with brands eager to tap into that following.
Earning tens or hundreds of thousands of followers is often a profitable endeavor, but it’s far from the only avenue Gen Z is taking to make money for simply being themselves.
If we told you that you could get paid to watch videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.
It’s too good to be true, right?
But we’re serious. A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.
All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward.
No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight wasting time on your phone.
Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.
It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.
Quinten Plummer is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.