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May, 2024

Val Morgan Digital study reveals ‘Money Dysmorphia’ among young Australians

New finance research study on ‘Money Dysmorphia’ among young Australians conducted by Val Morgan Digital has revealed a distorted view of financial health that’s leading to contradictory and potentially harmful financial behaviours.

The study surveyed over 1000 Gen Z and Millennial Australians on their spending and saving habits as well as a readership sample across Val Morgan Digital’s brands, representing 4.24M Australians across publications including LADbible, Buzz Feed, Fandom & PopSugar. The research was conducted in April via Conjointly, an all-in-one survey research platform located in Australia.

According to the research, a significant portion of young Australians reallocating their savings towards activities that enrich their lives, such as music, fashion and travel, reflecting a shift towards prioritising experiences and personal fulfilment over traditional markers of financial success. Both demographics reported spending up to $1500 a month to satisfy those interests.

Gen Z have lower knowledge across all financial concepts compared to Millennials, but claim to know more about debt, while 59% of Gen Z respondents say they have zero debt versus 37% of Millennials. Overall, 61% of respondents claimed to be familiar or very familiar with the concept of debt. The research also found Gen Z are battling the highest rates of HELP debt and Buy Now Pay Later services, indicating they don’t fully understand what debt is and the impact of it.

Despite aspirations for homeownership, a disconnect exists between the goals and perceptions of what Gen Z and Millennials think their finances can achieve. Across Gen Z respondents, 43% report to be saving for a home, but 37% believe buying a home is an unattainable goal.

“The research highlights why the need for improved and regulated financial education for young Australians has never been more important — particularly as we know that social media is their top source for financial guidance, which is rife with misinformation,” Director of Growth & Partnerships at Val Morgan Digital, Julia Willing, said. “We have a number of money-focused launches slated across our brands in H2 that will engage our passionate audiences and we’re looking for partners to help bring these to life.”