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Gen Z Beginning Financial Planning Earlier Than Previous Generations

Corebridge Financial research finds nearly three in four Gen Zers say they “got serious” about financial planning before age 25

According to a new survey from Corebridge Financial gauging sentiments about financial knowledge and expertise during National Financial Capability Month, roughly one in three respondents say they did not “get serious” about financial planning until after the age of 35. However, younger generations report they are starting their financial journeys earlier.

Nearly half (49%) of baby boomers say they did not seriously start their financial planning until after they turned 35, and more than a third (35%) put off planning until they were 40 or older.

In contrast, 69% of millennials say they started seriously planning their finances before turning 35. Even more precocious is the youngest cohort: 73% of Gen Z report getting serious about their finances between 18 and 25 years old, with less than 20% saying they have not yet gotten serious about the topic.

“The best time to start planting the seeds for financial success is as early as possible, so it is great to see younger people getting a head start on financial planning. Establishing a foundation of financial awareness, literacy and skills early on can have huge impacts on individuals, families and society as a whole,” said Terri Fiedler, President of Retirement Services at Corebridge Financial. “At the same time, successfully managing your finances is a lifelong process, meaning there is always opportunity to build and sharpen those capabilities – whether that’s in the classroom, the home or the workplace – helping turn thoughts into actions and actions into outcomes.”

Education is key to financial confidence

Early financial education has a serious impact on how Americans feel about their financial capabilities. More than three in five (61%) never took a personal finance class at any level of school. Of those who identify as financial novices, an overwhelming 81% never studied personal finance in school. In contrast, more than half (53%) of self-identified experts took a personal finance course in college, and around one quarter (24%) took a personal finance course in high school.

Although older generations got a later start in their own financial planning, American parents are committed to helping the next generations learn early. Parents with children under 18 are teaching their kids about saving money (56%), the value of money (49%) and spending habits (42%).

Financial skill building needs differ across generations

While more than seven in ten are confident in their ability to manage day-to-day expenses (77%), build a budget (73%) and manage debt (72%), there is a significant drop-off when it comes to more complex financial activities. Roughly half have confidence in their ability to manage strategies to maximize compound interest (52%) or invest in stocks and mutual funds (48%).

Different generations of respondents are interested in learning more about different topics, perhaps reflecting the different stages of life for the various age cohorts.

Gen Z and millennials say that they are most interested in becoming adept at building a budget, with 38% of both groups selecting it as one of the three financial planning skills they would most want to instantly gain expertise in. As Gen X approaches the later stages of their careers, they are the most likely to express interest in becoming experts in investing in stocks and mutual funds (34%) and preparing for retirement (32%). Baby boomers share the enthusiasm for becoming investing pros, with 45% saying they would like to instantly amp up this skill. As baby boomers enter their golden years, they are also the most interested in becoming experts in planning for long-term care needs (30%).

When Americans want to improve their financial capabilities, they leverage different resources. While Gen Z is most likely to turn to social media to strengthen financial planning skills (40%), a plurality of baby boomers (36%) use financial professionals. Though artificial intelligence (AI) continues to garner attention in all aspects of life, it has not yet broken through as a mainstream financial planning tool, with just 9% of respondents saying they use AI tools to improve their financial skills.

When looking at how Americans tend to spend their time, financial planning represents a small fraction of their monthly activities. Nearly nine out of ten (88%) spend four or fewer hours per month on financial planning, compared to 41% who spend at least 10 hours per month streaming or watching movies and TV.

Improving financial skills this year

Originally designated Financial Literacy Month in 2004, National Financial Capability Month underscores the importance of holistic financial education. When asked what being financially capable means to them, respondents were most likely to select the ability to be financially independent (39%), to manage day-to-day financial affairs without stress (38%) and to provide for family (37%).

Corebridge encourages those who want to strengthen their financial capabilities to take advantage of the following resources.

  • Take stock of where you are today: 16% of respondents said they would be willing to take a financial wellness assessment this month. The online Corebridge FutureFIT Wellness Check can help you assess where you are today and generate a personalized FutureFIT plan.
  • Budget for today – and tomorrow: 28% of respondents say they would be willing to build a budget within the next month. Use Factor in your future, an inflation visualizer created by Corebridge to help start planning for increasing costs across the next 10, 20 or 30 years.
  • Make a plan to save: 26% of respondents say they are willing to change their spending habits in the next month to support their financial future. Use the Saving Center from Corebridge for tips on savings strategies, whether your goal is to keep more cash on hand, reduce debt or increase retirement savings.


The 2024 Financial Capability Survey was conducted online by Morning Consult on behalf of Corebridge Financial between March 19-23, 2024 among a national sample of 2,200 adults.

About Corebridge Financial

Corebridge Financial, Inc. (NYSE: CRBG) makes it possible for more people to take action in their financial lives. With more than $380 billion in assets under management and administration as of December 31, 2023, Corebridge Financial is one of the largest providers of retirement solutions and insurance products in the United States. We proudly partner with financial professionals and institutions to help individuals plan, save for and achieve secure financial futures. For more information, visit and follow us on LinkedIn and YouTube.

Annuity Alliance is not affiliated with Corebridge Financial. This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be used to make a buying decision. If you would like to speak with a financial professional, please use Annuity Alliance’s contact form.