- The oldest members of Gen Z are facing diminishing job opportunities and layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.
- A CFP for high-net-worth millennials told Business Insider Gen Z might follow in the footsteps of the oldest millennials, who fell financially behind after graduating into the Great Recession.
- He said that to avoid the same fate, members of Gen Z needs to focus right now on increasing their value and cutting back on spending.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Gen Z needs to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The oldest members of the generation, which as of 2020 spans those turning ages 8 to 23, are bearing the brunt of the economic toll of the coronavirus. College students are seeing jobs and internship opportunities diminish, while Gen Zers already in the workforce are facing furloughs and layoffs.
And many Gen Zers aren’t eligible for stimulus checks if they were claimed as a dependent on someone else’s taxes. Those working part-time or in an internship would fit that bill.
It’s a situation reminiscent of what happened to the oldest millennials, who graduated into the Great Recession. Twelve years later, those millennials are still dealing with how entering a weak job market negatively affected their career paths and their ability to build wealth. Research finds that stagnation in financial growth can afflict recession graduates for almost 15 years.
Douglas Boneparth, CFP and president of Bone Fide Wealth, a financial-planning firm for high-net-worth millennials, told Business Insider he thinks it’s possible that some of Gen Z will follow in older millennials’ footsteps. “That will come down to how quickly we can recover from the damage being done from coronavirus,” he said. (Boneparth’s comments applied to the older cohort of Gen Z, including recent graduates and current college students.)
Boneparth said he was mostly concerned with Gen Z’s ability to service student loan debt – the class of 2019 graduated with nearly $US30,000 of student-loan debt on average – and the possibility that they might accumulate more debt to survive.
Gen Z should focus on increasing their value and cutting spending
To avoid what befell older millennials, Boneparth advised the older members of Gen Z to spend their free time doing anything they can to increase their value to potential employers when the economy begins to recover.
One option, he said, is continuing your education with free online classes. Online-learning site Coursera is offering 100 classes across a variety of categories for free from now through May 31, complete with a certificate of completion you can add to LinkedIn.
Boneparth also suggested working on building your personal brand by creating content, like a blog. This can also involve building and curating your social media presence.
A personal brand should be centered on your value, insights, and passion in a way that’s also aligned to your ideal career. It’s about defining your niche and accurately capturing who you are and how you want to be seen. Having a good brand can make you more marketable to employers by increasing your reach, impact, and income, Marietta Gentles Crawford previously reported for Business Insider.
You can also take side jobs or learn to be creative in new ways. That might mean starting a side hustle such as becoming a freelance writer or reselling clothes online.
“When money is tight, the emphasis is on managing spending to ensure that you are limiting any movement backwards financially,” Boneparth said. That means cutting back where you can to save as much as you can in an emergency savings fund.
As Boneparth puts it, “This means getting uncomfortable temporarily.”