Generation (money) gap: Pru survey finds younger workers feel they don’t make enough to save for future

Younger generations — strapped with debt and a feeling of hopelessness amid a wave of economic uncertainty — aren’t putting dollars aside for a “rainy day fund” or major life milestone.

Instead, they are living in the now and filled with anxiety every step of the way.

So said the results of a new Pulse survey from Prudential Financial, which was released Friday morning.

The survey: “Generational Gap Grows: Work & Money Outlook Divided,” spoke with more than 4,700 Americans in early October, including nearly 2,000 millennials and Gen Zers.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Looking to others for financial help: Half of millennials said they regularly run out of money and have to rely on credit cards or family for financial support, and 65% of millennials and Gen Z have received financial support in the past two years from either parents, significant others, relatives or grandparents.
  • Debt taking a toll: 55% of millennials said that debt is preventing them from accomplishing personal goals, such as owning a home and having kids. 33% of millennials and 32% of Gen Z said student loan debt is a barrier to accomplishing those personal goals.
  • Social obligations turn financial burden: 46% of millennials and 48% of Gen Z said they’d be able to spend more on personal goals if they did not have to spend on friends’ and family members’ life milestones like wedding gifts, baby gifts or milestone birthday celebrations and gifts.

The biggest reason for all this: salaries.

Despite the fact that salaries have risen rapidly in the past few years, those surveyed said one job doesn’t cover enough when it comes to bills, expenses and savings. Many said they have to turn to gig work or support from family or friends — or risk facing the pitfalls of debt.

Among other key findings:

  • Salary not sufficient: 49% of millennials and 48% of Gen Zers don’t believe that a salary is going to be enough to achieve their financial goals.
  • Growth in gig work: 70% of all workers have pursued or considered pursuing gig work to supplement their income over the past year. This is even higher among Gen Z (81%) and millennials (77%) — roughly a quarter of whom hoped that their gig work will one day be their full-time job.
  • Gig work seen as a temporary option: Most workers who are considering or are pursuing gig work (34%) said they are only doing it until their main source of income can fully sustain their financial needs.