Millennials and Gen Zers are turning to an unlikely source in an attempt to crowdfund cash for everything from coffee to medical bills

When strapped for cash, what’s a millennial or Gen Zer to do?

Turn to Venmo, apparently.

Young adults in need of money are using the mobile payment app as a crowdfunding platform by calling for financial help on Twitter and including a link to their Venmo account, reported Suhauna Hussain for the Los Angeles Times.

“Users seek to crowdfund a few hundred dollars for rent or food, burdensome expenses such as medical bills, surgery, immigration fees, a family member’s funeral, and even a couple dollars for a cup of coffee or a trip to the nail salon,” she wrote.

The trend is commonly seen among those in marginalized groups, such as women, people of colour, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community, Hussain said.

One college student raised $US1,500 when her father was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody; another student with a pile of rent, tuition, and medical bills received $US150 for food; and a third student has raised money several times for everything from DACA renewal fees to a study abroad program, Hussain reported.

But crowdfunding isn’t what Venmo was intended for.

The app is typically used to make splitting payments easier – paying back a friend your portion of the dinner check or a sibling your half of a birthday gift for a parent. But now Venmo has, in part, taken on a similar function to GoFundMe, where people often raise money for unexpected financial circumstances.

Venmo has made it clear it’s not a peer of the fundraising site: “We’re definitely not a GoFundMe and we certainly don’t facilitate charitable payments,” a Venmo spokesperson told Hussain.

Read more: Meet the average American millennial, who has an $US8,000 net worth, is delaying life milestones because of student loan debt, and still relies on their parents for money

Millennials are floundering in the face of The Great American Affordability Crisis

Millennials’ and Gen Zs’ decision to use Venmo as a crowdfunding source is symptomatic of the financial burdens they’re shouldering. Faced with a high cost of living, staggering student-loan debt, and the fallout of the Great Recession, American millennials are trying to make ends meet in the midst of The Great American Affordability Crisis.

Consider this: The typical American millennial has a net worth of less than $US8,000, less than $US5,000 in their savings account, and makes $US35,592 a year. Being financially behind is causing them to delay major life milestones, like getting married and having kids.

Meanwhile, Gen Z is worried about being able to cover everyday expenses like morning coffee and transportation to work. A new report by Bankrate found that everyday expenses are the biggest financial stressor keeping the generation up at night. And more than a quarter of Gen Z respondents in Bankrate’s study said they worry about paying for their own or a family member’s education.

Read the full article at the Los Angeles Times »