9 Financial Tips from Boomers That Gen Z Should Ignore

The financial world has changed in the 50 years since the boomers came of age, and their advice won’t help Gen Z.

woman working at office using desktop computer with boss at the back giving advices
Updated May 28, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Each generation wants to pass on its knowledge from its experiences to help those generations that come after them.

But while baby boomers may have received some good financial advice, many of the rules they lived by don’t apply to later generations like Gen Z and may not help them to financially prepare for the future.

Here’s some advice that worked for boomers when they were younger but probably isn’t helpful to Gen Z.

Stick with your employer

Mikolette Moller/peopleimages.com/Adobe senior businessman talking with the employees in workspace

During their prime working years, baby boomers would stick with their employers through thick and thin because loyalty was considered an important characteristic of hard workers. You would be frowned upon if you hopped from one job to another.

But for Gen Z, loyalty is no longer considered important. In fact, younger employees may need to change companies to get pay raises or move up the corporate ladder. 

The issue is compounded by companies that are now more likely to lay off workers or not offer pensions to long-term employees.

Don’t use credit cards

andriano_cz/Adobe man checking a wallet that contains a one-dollar bill

Boomers grew up in a time when cash was king and many purchases could be made only with whatever greenbacks were in their pockets.

Baby boomers may have had a point, depending on your credit card situation. After all, Americans owe $986 billion in credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve. 

But the credit card business has changed since the 1960s, and some of the top rewards credit cards can actually help you earn extra perks, points, or maybe even cash back. They can also be good tools to build credit if used correctly. 

Keep grinding at the office

Quality Stock Arts/Adobe male engineer looking at wrist watch in fear of getting late

Boomers spent years grinding away at corporations and corporate culture. You weren’t taking your job seriously if you weren’t at the office as much as possible.

But younger workers are more willing to work to live rather than live to work. And Gen Z is finding ways to make extra money without working tirelessly at the office. 

They are more likely to have a side hustle that may incorporate their love for a hobby like photography or music. It gives them time to enjoy the money they’ve earned rather than having their lives revolve around the office.

You must buy a home

Davide Angelini/Adobe excited young couple holding keys outside new home

The American dream is becoming harder for young Americans to achieve compared to their baby boomer counterparts. So while the idea of owning a home sounds reasonable, it’s not as affordable for Gen Z as it was for boomers.

In fact, the median home price rose 60% between 1974 and 2019, but wages rose only 33%. So a Gen Z employee isn’t generating the same amount of income to afford a house as a boomer at that same age. 

Sure, buying a home may be a good investment, but it could also drop Gen Z into debt in a way that boomers didn’t have to worry about.

Work your way through college

olly/Adobe man using laptop for getting new ideas to write on wall

Boomers may tell you that you have to go to college. And if you are worried about paying for it, just get a job and work your way through college as they did.

But the cost of college is becoming a major barrier for Gen Zers, and just getting a part-time job won’t help. 

A 2021 Georgetown University report found that college tuition rose 169% since 1980 but pay for young workers rose only 19%, making it harder to work your way through college or quickly pay off student debt Gen Zers may incur.

Buy a car

prostooleh/Adobe african american woman excited after buying new car

Boomers may tell you that you need to buy a car and not lease one. After all, leasing just means you have to keep paying the dealership money.

But for younger people like Gen Z who are in the car market, a lease may be a better option. They may have to put down less to sign a lease than buying a car. Plus, they don’t have to worry about the long-term maintenance costs or the depreciation of a car that they’ve sunk money into.

And at the end of a lease, you can turn your car in and get a new model with updated safety features or buy the car from the dealer.

Put money in a savings account

denis_vermenko/Adobe happy asian woman holding money in hand

Saving money is a great idea no matter what generation you are, but boomers may suggest that Gen Zers dump cash in a savings account and let it earn interest.

The problem is that interest rates on savings accounts when boomers were young were as high as 15%. But for years now, the average interest rate was well below 0%. A Gen Zer won’t make much just squirreling money away in a basic savings account.

Instead, Gen Zers can shop around to find a high-yield savings account or even consider other potential investments like index funds, which often earn more than a savings account.

You don’t need a smartphone

Asier/Adobe businessman laughing while talking to client on phone

Boomers grew up without the internet or smartphones. They were able to survive adulthood without always being in contact with others or being able to access information in a second. So why are Gen Zers wasting money on those things in their pockets that they don’t need?

Any Gen Zer will tell you that smartphones have become a necessity for a number of reasons. Smartphones can keep you connected to potential business and financial opportunities, and make sure you don't miss out.

They can help Gen Zers compare prices on items to get the best deals and save money. For many, having a smartphone is considered a need by both employers and clients.

Stop wasting money on avocado toast

Jorge Argazkiak/Adobe beautiful woman sitting in an outdoor restaurant taking a bite of avocado toast

A boomer may tell you that if a Gen Zer wants to stop living paycheck to paycheck, it’s time to cut back on avocado toast or a daily latte.

But small splurges like avocado toast or a coffee from the local shop near a Gen Zer’s office may not be what’s busting their budgets. It’s OK to spend money on little things that make you happy throughout the day.

But it’s also a good idea to track every dollar you spend to see where your money is going. Then you can create a budget that includes saving a certain amount each month. Boomers may be surprised that the small lattes aren’t the culprits for busted budgets. 

Bottom line

PX Media/Adobe generations sign board

Boomers may have some great advice for later generations when it comes to professional and financial issues. In fact, boomers might have an important perspective on things like saving for retirement or growing your wealth.

But it’s also important to realize that financial vehicles and new inventions have made some advice outdated. 

While giving advice to younger people may be helpful, it’s also good for older generations to listen to the issues their younger counterparts face and help them navigate new financial struggles.

Choice Home Warranty Benefits

  • First month free
  • Protection for unexpected expense
  • 24/7 claims hotline
  • Network of over 15,000 technicians

Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.