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Generation Worry: 18-24-year olds more worried about their finances in 2019 compared to older Brits

Generation Z (18-24-year olds) is predicting tough financial times ahead, with almost half (47%) more concerned about their finances this year compared to 2018, according to NatWest research out today.

The rising costs of essentials such as food and travel (44%), not being able to save (44%) and not having a steady level of income (39%) topped the worry list for this group. Conversely, only 38% 55+ year olds said they were worried about their finances in 2019.

The financial pressures of socialising also weighed heavily with more than a third (37%) of young people stating they worry about not being able to afford their social life. Despite financial concerns, 26% said they feel pressurised into attending events due to FOMO (fear of missing out) and almost 1 in 10 25-34-year olds (9%) said they have previously attended social events they couldn’t afford just so they could post it on social media.

These costs are adding up, with 20% of 18-24-year olds saying they have used their overdraft to fund their social life, and 22% saying it meant they haven’t been able to save for milestones like a deposit for a house.

However strong their money worries though, young people are unlikely to discuss finances with friends, family or colleagues. 43% said they find finance a difficult topic to talk about and only around a quarter (24%) said they are comfortable talking about how money affects their mental health. This is despite 40% of this demographic believing talking about money would help them make better financial decisions and a quarter (25%) said discussing finances would make them worry less about money.

This could be about to change though following the meteoric rise of money diaries. More than one in 10 (13%) of 18-24-year olds and 11% of 24-34-year olds said reading money diaries makes them feel more comfortable talking about their own finances. And the rise of social media stars such as Love Islanders Paul Knops and Jamie Jewitt talking about how much they earn is also having a positive impact: 16% of this group said reading or seeing stories about the finances of people like them makes them feel more comfortable talking about their own financial lives

NatWest is today urging Brits to help make their banking lives easier and talk more openly about money in 2019 to help improve their health and their wealth.

Kirsty Britz, Director of Sustainable Banking at NatWest said: “2019 is going to be another year of economic turbulence, with uncertain income for many and rising prices. This, combined with the pressure to afford a social life, is clearly weighing on the minds of young people. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to get over the awkwardness and be more open about their finances – whether that’s not being able to afford a big night out or talking about the difficulties of being in debt.

“Money doesn't just affect our financial health; it's linked to our physical, mental and social wellbeing too. Talking about money is proven to have a positive effect, as well as helping people to make better financial decisions. We know if we encourage positive attitudes towards budgeting and saving from an early age it helps young people make the right financial choices in later life. That’s why we’re urging everyone to strike up a conversation this January to help make their financial lives easier. If people have particular concerns they should talk to their bank about the tools, such as budgeting tools or financial health checks, which can really help.”

Highlights from the research include:

The things 18-24-year old Brits were most worried about affording this year are:

The activities people have attended, despite being worried about being able to afford it:

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