Nearly half of young adults say they are ‘obsessed’ with being rich, and financial consequences may ensue

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Young adults are more likely to admit they are “obsessed” with chasing after the high life, according to a new survey by Credit Karma and Intuit.

The survey conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Intuit Credit Karma in December 2023, found 44% of Generation Z and 46% of Millennials say they are “obsessed with the idea of being rich,” compared to 27% of all Americans. A similar number of young adults reported experiencing “money dysmorphia,” which the survey described as “having a distorted view of one’s finances that could lead them to make poor decisions.”

As economic conditions remain uncertain in 2024, the survey also found 59% of Millennials and 48% of Gen Z feel behind on their financial goals.

Financial experts described how social media, among other factors, has contributed to feelings of discontentment among some young adults.

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Millennials and Gen Z were the first adults to grow up on social media and websites like YouTube where they are being “unconsciously sold to, 24 hours a day,” money coach Lisa Chastain told Fox News Digital.

While envy and a desire to reach a certain social status is nothing new, the rise of “influencers” has led younger generations to desire the kind of freedoms these social media stars appear to have in their lifestyles and with their finances. 

“Their value systems align with less work and more free time,” Chastain described. These generations also don’t want to “work their lives away” and still experience financial hardships, like they saw their parents and grandparents experience.

“They want freedom. Their parents have worked their lives away. Gen Z wants freedom and that’s going to mean making a lot of money. With the creation of YouTube and YouTube stars, it seems more tangible to this generation. This is causing the financial dysmorphia of this generation. They also have access to investing at a much younger age, which gives them the confidence that they can build wealth without the sophistication of their elders,” she added.

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CEO of oXYGen Financial Ted Jenkin said the luxurious lifestyles of social media influencers have caused a “major disconnect” in the younger generations between “having wealth and having stuff.”

“Social media has convinced 22-year-old kids that they should have vacations on the Amalfi Coast, Luis Vuitton Bags, and an HGTV kitchen before they’ve earned it,” and he believes it is the “primary reason Gen Z has money dysmorphia.”

“Unfortunately, most young people don’t post up their net worth on Instagram and TikTok and you can tell if any of the luxury items they claim to have are actually real. Mostly, it gives young people the fear of missing out and actually driving them further into debt,” he concluded.

Costly student loans and high living costs have also put “unprecedented financial pressures” on young adults, financial advisor Justin Rush argued.

“The pursuit of wealth may stem from a desire for financial security in the face of these challenges,” he explained.

stock photo of millennial friends

The financial experts encouraged young adults to focus on the future and make money management a priority.

Chastain also advised millennials to pay more attention to investing in their retirement and making their relationship with money a priority.

In 2024 however, the tide may be turning. Many young adults are moving away from their big-spending habits and proudly living more frugal lifestyles, according to a new social media trend called “loud budgeting.”

Gen Zers have filled TikTok with tips on how to budget and tell friends they can’t go out to eat or travel under the hashtag.

“It’s OK if you don’t go on vacation. It’s OK if you don’t have the latest handbag, it’s OK if you don’t buy the latest skincare product,” TikToker Jenny Park told her followers in a recent post. 

“You need to rewire your brain and stop comparing yourself to others,” she said, arguing that a good majority of people are living luxurious lifestyles while in credit card debt. 

“Stop normalizing living beyond your means,” Park said.

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