Greenlight Survey Finds Financial Anxiety Begins as Young as 14 Years Old

76% of Gen Z teens are stressed about money, while Gen Alpha shows higher financial confidence

ATLANTA--()--Greenlight® Financial Technology, Inc. ("Greenlight"), the fintech company on a mission to help parents raise financially smart kids, today released new findings from a national survey on the state of financial wellness among kids and teens (Gen Alpha, Gen Z) and parents (Millennial, Gen X). In honor of Financial Literacy Month, the survey aims to better understand generational differences in financial attitudes as well as opportunities for families to improve financial literacy together.

The results show financial stress and anxiety increase as early as 14 years old as financial confidence declines. 76% of Gen Z teens are just as stressed about money as their Millennial (76%) and Gen X (75%) parents, compared to only 31% of Gen Alpha. More than half (55%) of Gen Alpha say they are confident in achieving their financial goals, compared to only 45% of Gen Z. All generations agree they want more financial education, which can help provide the financial knowledge, skills, and confidence needed for a healthy future.

Key survey insights include:

Gen Alpha is the most confident and optimistic about their financial futures.

  • 91% of kids and teens (Gen Alpha, Gen Z) believe financial knowledge and skills are needed to achieve their life goals — and 94% of parents (Millennial, Gen X) agree.
  • The top three financial goals across generations include (1) saving money, (2) having a well-paying job or owning a business, and (3) owning a home.
  • More than half of Gen Alpha (55%) are extremely or very confident they will achieve their financial goals, compared to 45% of Gen Z. Gen Alpha is especially confident they will save money (76%), have a well-paying job (74%), and own a home (71%).
  • Some financial goals are ranked less attainable across generations — only 43% believe they will live without credit card debt or student loans, 42% say they will retire comfortably, and 34% say they will own investments.

Gen Z is experiencing more than twice as much financial stress and anxiety as Gen Alpha.

  • 3 out of 4 (76%) Gen Z teens are stressed or anxious about money, compared to only 31% of Gen Alpha kids.
  • 60% of Gen Z teens report experiencing financial stress on a daily or weekly basis, on par with Millennial (61%) and Gen X parents (58%).
  • More than half of Gen Z teens (55%) say they have lied about a financial situation.
  • The top three financial stressors across generations include inflation or shrinkflation (53%), lack of emergency funds or savings (46%), and gas prices (42%).
  • Gen Z’s #1 source of financial stress is gas prices (49%) while Millennial and Gen X parents are most stressed about inflation and shrinkflation (68%).

Gen Alpha and Gen Z agree they want more personal finance education.

  • 75% of Gen Alpha kids and Gen Z teens want more personal finance education, compared to 70% of Millennial and 66% of Gen X parents.
  • The top three financial education resources for Gen Alpha and Gen Z include (1) parents, (2) school, and (3) social media, while Millennial and Gen X parents report learning from (1) family, (2) personal finance websites, and (3) friends.
  • Gen Alpha kids and Gen Z teens say they learn more about personal finance from Mom (46%) than Dad (39%).
  • Parents and family are ranked the #1 most trusted source for financial education while social media is ranked as one of the least trusted.

Gen Z and Millennials increasingly turn to social media for financial advice, despite concerns about inaccurate information.

  • Half of Gen Z teens (50%) report learning about personal finance on social media, along with 31% of Millennial parents.
  • The most popular social media platforms for financial education across generations include (1) YouTube, (2) TikTok, (3) Facebook, and (4) Instagram.
  • Gen Z’s #1 social media platform for financial education is TikTok (59%) followed by YouTube (51%); half of Millennial parents turn to YouTube (50%) followed by Facebook (41%).
  • All generations (72%) are worried about learning inaccurate financial information on social media, yet half of Gen Z teens (50%) still say they have taken financial advice from social media influencers.

At Greenlight, we’re focused on empowering families with the financial knowledge and skills they need,” said Jennifer Seitz, Director of Education at Greenlight. “While parents and kids alike may be experiencing financial stress, effective financial education can play a crucial role in fostering confidence and preparedness for a better future.”

Greenlight offers an award-winning banking app for families that teaches kids and teens how to earn, save, spend wisely, invest, and more. Today, the company serves more than 6 million parents and kids, who have collectively saved more than $600 million and invested more than $50 million towards their financial futures.

Greenlight has continued to introduce new financial education programs for more effective and interactive learning. Greenlight Level Up™ is an in-app, curriculum-based financial literacy game with fun, engaging lessons that go beyond the National Standards for K-12 Personal Financial Education. Kids and teens have completed more than 2 million Level Up lessons with an average score of 88.4%. Greenlight also brought its best-in-class personal finance curriculum into schools with Greenlight for Classrooms — a free, web-based financial education library for teachers with more than 100 bite-sized videos, quizzes, and lesson plans, all mapped to K-12 national and state standards.

Survey Methodology

Survey insights were collected by Greenlight through a Researchscape survey fielded between March 22 and March 24, 2024, among 2,310 respondents in the U.S., split between Gen Alpha kids (ages 10-13), Gen Z teens (ages 14-19), and Millennial parents of 10-19 aged kids (ages 28-43), and Gen X parents of 10-19 aged kids (ages 44-59). All Gen Alpha kids were surveyed with a parent or guardian’s permission and under their supervision. Results were weighted by age, gender, and Census region.

About Greenlight

Greenlight Financial Technology is the family fintech company on a mission to help parents raise financially smart kids. Its product, Greenlight, is an award-winning banking app, complete with a debit card for kids and teens and safety features for the whole family. Parents can automate allowance, manage chores, set flexible spending controls, and invest for their family’s future. Kids and teens learn to earn, save, spend wisely, give, and invest. Together, families can also stay safe and connected with location sharing, SOS alerts, and crash detection with 911 dispatch.

Greenlight partners with more than 50 leading banks, credit unions, and employers to bring its family finance solution to more families through the Greenlight for Banks, Greenlight for Credit Unions, and Greenlight for Work programs.

The Greenlight Debit Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International. Greenlight Investment Advisors, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor, provides investment advisory services to its clients. Investing involves risk and may include the loss of principal. Greenlight is a financial technology company, not a bank. The Greenlight app facilitates banking services through Greenlight's bank partners. For more information, please visit:


Jessica Tenny


Jessica Tenny