This Is How Millennials & Gen Z Define Financial Freedom

Photographed by Kieran Boswell
Attitudes to money differ from generation to generation – just ask a grandparent about their pension – and so do views on what constitutes financial freedom.
When asked to define financial freedom by Barclays, 38% of millennials pointed to having disposable income at the end of each month. The same percentage said paying off their bills in full feels like financial freedom to them.
Meanwhile, 29% of millennials said being able to treat themselves without worrying about their bank balance is their measure of financial freedom.
Gen Z gave rather different answers to the same question. For 37% of younger Brits, being able to stop full-time work constitutes financial freedom. For 32%, being on track for early retirement was a signifier.
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Not being afraid to check their bank balance also feels like financial freedom for 29% of Gen Z.
Overall, just 39% of Brits said they feel financially free right now – and the average person said they don't expect to achieve financial freedom for another 12 years.
Giving some handy advice on how to reduce spending without feeling like you're 'cutting back', Rob Smith of Barclays said: "Before you look at your spending, start with a blank piece of paper and write down all things you think you really want to spend money on, then review this against what you currently ‘do’ spend money on over the month.
"This should give you some idea of areas where perhaps you can reduce spending as you wouldn’t pay for it today."
Previous research has found that despite being hit hardest by the pandemic, Gen Z and millennials are the UK's best savers.  This research shuts down once and for all the inaccurate cliché that young people are irresponsible with their money and should give up cappuccinos and avocado toast (ugh) to get on the property ladder
To see how a cross-section of women spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period, check out Refinery29's Money Diaries series.

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