In general, Gen Zers are up against some tough financial obstacles. They’re cornered into frugality due to increasingly high costs of living, yet at the same time facing pressure to spend, in part because of the fancy exoticism and luxury frills they’re taking in from influencers on social media.
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Like any younger person, the typical Gen Zer can really benefit from financial advice. And they’re getting it — but not from where you might think.
According to a new study by Northwestern Mutual, Gen Zers, of all adult cohorts, are the most likely to consider family members as the most trusted source for financial advice. They even trust family over financial advisors.
Why is this, and is it a smart move for Gen Z — or really anyone — to make?
Family Wisdom Is Valuable — But Not a One-Size Fits All Solution
Having trust in your elders for their financial insights can be very valuable, but it should be taken with a grain of salt.
“This appreciation for familial advice signifies the importance of interconnected wisdom,” said Rick Chahal, a licensed paralegal/legal assistant at Kahlon Law. “However, it’s crucial for Gen Z to critically analyze these pieces of advice and align them with their circumstances. After all, advice is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s about adapting insights to your unique situation while still respecting the wisdom of our loved ones and advisors.”
Some Family Advice Can Be Too Dated
Realistically, a baby boomer probably has a very different financial picture, and, perhaps more importantly, financial history, than a Gen Zer. As a result, some advice from older folks in the fam may be highly outdated and could do more harm than good.
“It boils down to staying relevant,” said Kraig Kleeman, founder and CEO of The New Workforce. “Your family’s advice might feel like it’s coming from a different era — and sometimes, it is. It’s crucial to consider whether what they say still holds up today. Don’t just nod along; think it through.”
Don’t Forget Your Friends
Friends can be like family, and peers can lend perspectives that family members may just not be able to provide.
“Family can be your go-to for personal growth, because they really get you,” said Kleeman. “But don’t forget about your friends or people in the same boat as you. They’re going through the same stuff, so they can relate.”
Throw in Some ‘FinTok,’ Too
Social media, particularly TikTok, can be a wellspring of financial wisdom. Don’t be afraid to do some exploring there, too.
“FinTok provides efficient idea generation, while real-life advisors offer [the] customization required for financial strategies to work long-term,” said Dillon St. Bernard, cultural strategist, social impact advisor, founder and chief creative officer at Team DSB.
“Gen Z should absolutely start the money chat with FinTok features, then turn to family support and professional financial planners to construct a customized action plan to manifest those initial sparks into reality.”
Don’t Get Certain Advice From Family
Though Chahal thinks it’s good to consider family for financial advice — to an extent — Gen Z may want to lean on others for specialty insights. Think of it as a medical situation. You may want to talk to your mom or uncle about any health concern you have, but you ultimately want to go to a doctor for necessary support.
“Legal advice should come from legal professionals, financial advice from certified financial advisors and medical advice from healthcare professionals,” Chahal said. “Gen Z should also consider seeking advice from mentors in their field of interest, be it academia, arts, business or any other domain. These mentors, with their wealth of knowledge and experience, can provide unique insights, paving the way for informed decision-making.”
Diversify Your Advice Sources
Just as you should diversify your investment portfolio, you should diversify your advice, meaning you should get your financial tips from a number of unique sources.
“I would advise Gen Z to rely on a diversity of sources for financial information,” said Loretta Kilday, senior attorney at DebtConsolidationCare.
So mix it up a bit. Look to family, but also to TikTok, friends and financial advisors.
Trust Financial Planners and Advisors the Most
But when it really comes down to it, if forced to choose, opt to get your financial advice from an expert.
“Financial planners are best suited to provide guidance in this field; their qualifications and comprehensive knowledge of the money market make them more than ideal for purposes of long-term financial planning,” Kilday said.
Elder Family Members Need To Lead by Example
The onus to get good financial advice isn’t only on Gen Z; elder family members must also play their part and lead by example.
“In the end, the two smartest things that a parent can do for their kids with money [are] one, understand that children will copy what you do, not what you say, so set a good example,” said Michael Gilmore of The Money Awareness and Inclusion Awards. “And two, perhaps use this as an opportunity to learn together, engaging your kids in a new subject and going through it with them step-by-step.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Who Does Gen Z Trust Most for Money Advice? It Might Surprise You
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