COVID-19 has provided an unexpected boon to Millennial and Generation Z finances, according to a national survey of more than 2,000 U.S adults (aged 18-39) by Money Under 30.
The survey found that two out of three (65%) Millennials say the pandemic had a positive effect on their finances, with 69% spending less money overall, even as boredom (40%) and depression (20%) contributed to a significant uptick in online shopping, both groceries (53%) and non-essential items (57%).
Millennials made the biggest savings on eating out (52%), transportation (47%) and nights out drinking (30%). Millennials also saved on vacations (28%) and gym membership (21%).
"It seems that a lot of Millennials didn't get the recession memo," said Rebecca Greig, managing editor of Money Under 30. "For the Avocado Toast generation, who value experiences over material wealth, it's unsurprising that they made the biggest savings on going out, whether on barista-brewed coffee, dinner and cocktails, or the Uber ride home after a night of bar-hopping."
The gender gap
The stereotype may hold that women are bigger shoppers than men, but when it comes to online splurging, all those extra hours at home are pulling on men's purse strings more – 62.5% of male respondents who work from home spent more on online shopping (not including groceries) compared to 58% of women.
Relative to men, women are also thinking more about their finances: 64% of women compared to 57% of men.
Investing is best
One of the major finds of the survey is that 61% of Millennials think now is a good time to invest, with younger Millennials proving that investing is not an old man's (or woman's) game: 70% of under-30s are interested in learning how to invest compared to 55% of those 30-plus. One in five (20%) are planning to start investing because of the pandemic, with 72% of women interested in learning more about investing (or doubling down on existing investments), compared to 82% of men.
"The stock market has seen more jumps and falls this year than the average rollercoaster but it's one that Millennials are only too keen to ride," Greig said. "Months of staying home with an uncertain future has encouraged young people to take stock of their finances and put their faith in the markets."
COVID-19 is changing how people work
COVID-19 has also had a dramatic effect on how Millennials work: 68% of those surveyed said the pandemic had affected their job with one in three (33.5%) newly working from home and another third (34%) facing furloughs, reduced hours, and/or salary, or job losses.
But working from home comes with its own economic benefits: 78% of Millennials working from home said their overall outgoings decreased compared to 60% of those working from their regular place of work as higher home spending on electricity, groceries and coffee is offset by extensive savings on transportation and eating out.
Zooming into history
Video conferencing platform Zoom is one of the undisputed winners of the pandemic and the results of our survey back this up: 48% tried Zoom for the first time during lockdown with younger Millennials being more adventurous (52% of under 30s compared to 42% of over-30s) and those working from home more likely to use the platform (52%) than those working from their usual workplace (45%).
The full article, including the personal financial stories of Millennials, may be viewed here.
All figures are from a SurveyMonkey survey conducted on behalf of Money Under 30. The survey was conducted online May 11-12, 2020, with a total sample size of 2,131 adults, ages 18-39, across all U.S. states.
About Money Under 30
Money Under 30 is an independent personal finance site providing free advice for young adults wanting to make informed decisions about where their money goes. For more information, visit moneyunder30.com
About Rebecca Greig
Rebecca is the managing editor of four finance and investing titles including Money Under 30. Following a degree in politics from Cambridge University and a Masters in journalism, she has worked across TV and print, including the BBC, Al Jazeera English, Newsweek and reported from Mongolia, Nepal, Israel and the Palestinian Territories.