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5 Things We Learned From Millennials And Gen Z About Financial Well-Being, According To A Study

A Manulife study gave a closer look at the financial and mental well-being of Filipino millennials and Gen Z in the time of COVID-19

When the pandemic happened, there was a sudden shift in our lives. What was once a vibrant, hectic work, family, and social life turned into somewhat stagnant and perhaps a little less exciting days. When everything goes to a pause and a halt and there’s no other choice but to stay at home to avoid contracting the virus, a change in priorities and perspective is bound to follow.

This is exactly what happened during lockdown. And especially to the transitioning adults—millennials and Gen Z alike—who are still navigating the “adulting” world, finding solutions to present pressing concerns have been top priority. Before, it wasn’t that big of a deal when we caught a cold or had a fever; however, the ongoing global health crisis now leaves us feeling anxious and cautious all the time. The result: We respond with a plan.

During a media briefing of Manulife regarding their a study called “Know Your Ys and Zs: A Closer Look at the Financial and Mental Well-Being of Filipino Millennials and Generation Z in the Time of COVID-19,” the above statement was proven true. Adjusting according to setbacks that these generations face, Manulife noted the things that these young adults have begun processing, such as going through heightened financial and mental health challenges and taking more proactive steps toward achieving financial security and personal wellness.


Through the survey involving 500 respondents across the Philippines between April and May 2021, the study’s goal was to understand the attitudes, behaviors, and habits of these generations toward finance and personal well-being as well as actions they are taking to achieve financial independence and improve mental wellness.

“The far-reaching consequences of the pandemic on public health, personal relationships, and the global economy have made the younger generations of Filipinos more aware of the importance of their physical, mental, and financial health, and how interconnected these are to achieving optimum well-being,” Manulife’s chief marketing officer Melissa Henson shares.

The in-depth discussion tackled lessons that millennials and Gen Zs have learned as they deal with the pandemic. Whether you’re part of these generations or not, we can all pick up some tips here that we can apply to better ourselves—financially or mentally—as we continue living in the new normal. 


1. Save up! In the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of people lost their jobs. Saving up has indeed become more important now more than ever. Some of the top concerns of millennials and Gen Z adults, according to the study, include running out of money and drowning in debt. 87% of them are worried about uncertainties in the future, so most of them save so they can protect themselves against an unfortunate event in the future, continue to fund their daily living expenses, and support their family’s future needs.


2. Invest wisely. The study found that 81% of millennials and Gen Zs have started taking steps to secure their future financially because they believe it is important to know where their money goes. Some of them have also started investing in financial instruments, so whether it’s through life or health insurance like ones that Manulife offers or even big-ticket items that are needed for work or at home, these individuals have truly become money-savvy.

3. Set aside a portion of your salary for self-care. Managing and trying to work out your expenses are stressful enough, that’s why these generations have coped with these anxieties through acknowledging the importance of self-care and mental health. While the top-ranked activities, especially for Gen Zs, are the mundane things (like getting enough sleep and talking to friends and family), allocating funds for things that make them happy (like getting a proper meal, exploring fitness and leisure activities, and going to therapy) was considered worth doing.


4. Find other ways to earn money. Manulife’s study found that millennials have become more conscious and deliberate in growing their money to secure their future. Whether it’s opening up a business, dipping their toes in government savings programs, or discovering cryptocurrency, there are many creative ways for this bunch.


5. Educate yourself. Finally, as we adapt to a fast-paced, information-loaded new normal setup, there’s a lot of resources for us to learn about managing our lives, including finances and well-being. The study found out that Gen Zs are actively educating themselves about finance, recognizing that they are not yet financially stable amid the COVID-19 situation. As more and more of them are learning about the numbers, they have become more adept and careful in taking in the information needed to succeed in this endeavor. 

Photos from @manulifeph