Gen Z, millennials urge schools to offer more financial literacy classes

As the price of almost everything rises, the younger generations find it harder to save money.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 5:51 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Hit hard by the prices of pretty much everything, the younger generations are finding it harder to not only save for retirement but save for anything.

“We have to find a way to reduce the level of financial stress and financial burden and we have to do that fast,” said Stateline resident, Tamir Bell.

On Thursday, 23 News talked with two members of Generation Z, Matt Callahan and Tamir Bell. They say they know first hand the difficulties of saving money.

“Sometimes you have to skip going out or not go out ever because it’s so difficult to justify that extra spending,” Callahan said.

Financial advisor Ryan Monette, with Savant Wealth Management, says he feels for those just out of college. He says they face a lot of variables that older generations didn’t.

“A lot of these variable costs, they’re subscription based. Right? And they’re a small amount typically. So maybe I want Netflix, that’s like 15 dollars a month. And then maybe I want HBO Max, that’s another 10 bucks a month or I can pay 120 for the year or something like that,” he told 23 News.

Not to mention the rising price of things like groceries and gas, and that’s just the tip of an iceberg that keeps growing in size.

“Three of the biggest barriers for young people in my opinion is college debt, housing, and insurance rates. So all three of those things cost a lot, but they are a necessity,” Bell said.

Monette urges schools to push more financial literacy classes. Only 20 states require students to take a personal finance course before graduating, Illinois and Wisconsin are not included.

“We just don’t have enough of it in the high school levels, in the college levels. And to some extent it should be required,” Monette says.

Bell and Callahan agree.

“I had no idea what to do in terms of a credit card, how to start saving, what kind of savings account,” said Callahan.

They think it needs to start at a young age.

“The story of young people trying to make a way is nothing new. What’s hurting us more now is that as prices rise, we often purchase what we want rather than what we need, and I believe that comes from a lack of financial literacy,” Bell told 23 News.

Local organizations like the 815 Minority Access and Achievement Group (815MAAG), mentors kids in middle and high schools on financial literacy, so hopefully they get on the right foot before they become adults.