Many millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, formed their early childhood memories during a relatively peaceful and prosperous time for our country. Pop hits like “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin or “I Will Always Love You,” by Whitney Houston, were generally upbeat. While movies, like “Groundhog Day” and “Wayne’s World” were rather funny.

Personal finance for millennials may have been influenced in part by the “bling” that they admired on shows such as “MTV Cribs.” As a generation, millennials seem to be a bit more materialistic than their successors, according to the research organization, WARC.

But when Gen Z came along, from 1996 to 2011, there was unrest in the Middle East and the Great Recession slammed the country. In addition, the internet had created several paradigm shifts. Perhaps, as a result, Gen Z has grown up understanding the true value of life experiences over possessions, according to WARC.

Where do you fit? Possessions or life experiences? Which is more important to you?

Gen Z Consumer Habits

With all the influencer millionaires and YouTube stars, Gen Z may be as far from 9-to-5 as you can get when it comes to career goals, according to Forbes Magazine. So, it makes sense that the younger generation’s spending habits would differ from millennials as well.

Kerry Taylor, a senior executive at MTV, told WARC that Gen Z is more distrustful of institutions and is prepared to work hard to get what they want.

This youth audience has “grown up in a world where they’ve seen government leaders be distrustful – and they’ve gotten quite distrustful of big brands and authority,” Taylor added.

Gen Zers, also known as Zoomers, are much less willing to blindly purchase products because of some “brand loyalty” that was passed down from their parents. Even if a brand is viewed as trustworthy, members of Gen Z still do their research before buying. Recommendations on social media, particularly from non-celebrities, are extremely important to Gen Z, according to the National Retail Federation.

Gen Z consumers are also cognizant of their health and the health of our planet. They choose products that are environmentally sustainable, organic, and sold in eco-friendly packaging, according to Kearney, a global management consulting firm.

Millennial Consumer Habits

College enrollment grew with millennials, although many of them had to rely on student loans to pay for their education, according to a 2014 presidential report issued by the Council of Economic Advisers.

Student loans, 9-to-5 career goals that went awry and a penchant for material possessions have left many millennials trapped by their debt.

But new technology has given millennials the opportunity to work in a more flexible, tech-oriented environment. According to Career Addict, here’s a list of some jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago:

  • Social media influencer
  • Podcast producer
  • Uber/Lyft driver
  • Driverless car engineer
  • Blockchain analyst
  • Cloud architect
  • Drone operator
  • Chief Listening Officer (CLO)
  • Budtender for cannabis consumption

Despite the financial setbacks many millennials have experienced, they are still a tech-savvy generation compared to their parents. Millennials were also the first generation that started to opt for a more minimalist lifestyle, according to Forbes Magazine.

Escaping from Debt in the New Economy

Whether you’re a digital native or not, new technology and digital platforms have created endless new ways to build wealth by monetizing creativity. Millennial entrepreneur Sam Ovens, for example, designed his own consulting business and turned it into a $10 million company using technology to build wealth.

Consolidating Debt from College

If you were one of the tens of thousands of young adults who received a credit card offer in college and accepted it, you may have accumulated a large chunk of debt. And studies show that debt, whether it’s from credit cards or student loans, can affect your mental health.

But there are ways to overcome debt, as this guidance counselor did, by budgeting, refinancing or taking out a personal loan to consolidate your existing debt.

If you are still paying for your credit card usage from college, now may be a good time to consolidate your debt. You may want to explore Splash Financial to learn about personal loans to pay off high-interest credit cards that could help you save money and climb out of a financial hole.