Cryptocurrency Ownership Among Younger Investors Now As Common As Real Estate Investments

14 views 12:17 pm 0 Comments April 12, 2024

When it comes to wealth, younger Americans (millennials and Gen Z) have catching up to do, the team at PolicyGenius noted in a recent update.

Adult members of these generations “own just 74 cents for every $1 of wealth that baby boomers owned at the same age,” the Policygenius report reveals.

They haven’t been as successful “at reaching traditional financial goals like home ownership. In fact, younger generations are almost equally likely to own cryptocurrency (21%) as they are to own real estate (20%) and more likely to try financial “hacks,” according to the Policygenius 2024 Financial Planning Survey.

Key findings from the research are as follows:

  • Gen Zers are more likely to own cryptocurrency (20%) than they are to own stocks (18%).
  • 14% of Gen Z have tried “infinite banking” — a term for borrowing against the cash value of a whole life insurance policy.
  • Gen Z and millennials are more than twice as likely to turn to social media first with a financial question (8%) compared to Gen X and baby boomers (2%).
  • 31% of baby boomers feel proud of how they manage their finances, compared to just 23% of Gen X, 28% of millennials, and 23% of Gen Z.

1 in 5 American adults under 42 owns cryptocurrency

Home affordability is at its lowest point “since the Great Recession, as a combination of high interest rates, stagnating incomes, and low housing stock have put home ownership out of reach for many Americans.”

So it’s not surprising that “only 20 percent of Gen Z and Millennial adults surveyed own real estate.”

In addition to real estate, zoomers (ages 18 to 26 “at the time of the survey) are less likely than older generations to own stocks. Gen Z and milennials (ages 27 to 42) are much more likely to invest in alternative assets like cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) compared to their older counterparts.”

Baby boomers benefited greatly “from housing wealth, which makes up nearly half of the wealth of a typical baby boomer household.”

A growing housing shortage may “prevent younger generations from benefiting in the same way.”

Aside from investments, millennials and Gen Zers “are also more likely to try financial ‘hacks,’ often popularized on social media, like no-spend challenges or ‘infinite banking’ (borrowing against a whole life insurance policy). 62% of these younger generation members have tried at least one of six financial hacks listed in the survey (see below), compared to 36% of older generations.”

No-spend challenges, which “involve spending as little as possible for a set period of time, have gained prominence on TikTok and other social networks. Videos tagged #NoSpendMonth have amassed more than 90 million views on TikTok, and in our survey this financial hack was most popular among Gen Z.”

Millennials’ favorite financial hack, according to the survey, “is maximizing credit card rewards, a practice of mixing and matching credit cards to accumulate as many points, airline miles, and other rewards as possible.”

This hack has gained popularity “since the 2010s, when many millennials came of age financially around the same time as the launch of rewards-focused websites like The Points Guy. Unlike no-spend challenges, which are more popular among Gen Z and millennials, maximizing credit rewards is equally popular among Gen Z and baby boomers.”

In addition to owning different assets and trying different financial tactics, younger generations also “get financial advice from different sources.”

Across every generation, financial professionals “are among the most popular sources of advice.”

But even among the most popular choices, “there are variations: Older generations are much more likely to turn to financial professionals first, which may reflect their greater wealth and access to paid financial advice. The top choices also reflect how as people get older, they rely less on their parents and more on their own financial knowledge, as older generations were more likely to select “none of these” over the nine choices for financial advice presented in the survey. Meanwhile, Gen Z and millennials were twice as likely as Gen X and baby boomers to turn to social media first for a financial question.”

In terms of how different generations feel about their finances, baby boomers stand alone.

Around three-quarters of baby boomers (78%) said “they feel at least somewhat proud of their finances.”

This makes sense: Baby boomers “are wealthier on average and more likely to own real estate than younger generations. Meanwhile, younger generations all feel similar levels of shame and pride in their finances.”

Methodology

Policygenius commissioned YouGov to “poll 4,063 Americans age 18 or older.”

The survey was carried out online “from Oct. 16 through Oct. 19, 2023. The results have been weighted to be representative of all U.S. adults.”

The average margin of error “was +/- 2%.”