How Millennials and Gen Z Can Make Their Savings Goals a Reality in 2023

January 16, 2023

Key takeaways

  • Millennials and Gen Z are focused on laying the foundation for their financial future in 2023. Saving for retirement and homeownership is top of mind for young adults.
  • To achieve your 2023 goals, find a budgeting method that works for you. Proportional, zero-based, and pay-yourself-first budgeting are all proven to help you achieve your goals.
  • Before working towards your long-term goals though, set your sights on an emergency fund if you haven’t already. That way, your progress isn’t derailed by surprise expenses.

2023 is shaping up to be the year of saving. Inflation and high interest rates drive many consumers, especially millennials and Gen Z, to cut their spending. Instead of working toward short-term spending goals, consumers are ready to take advantage of high interest rates to maximize their savings. In this blog, we share savings tips millennials and Gen Z can follow to achieve their long-term goals.

What financial goals are millennials and Gen Z setting for 2023?

Many millennials and Gen Z are keeping their financial goals simple this year in response to inflation and a looming recession. More than anything, young adults said in a survey that they want to save more, reduce debt and reduce their spending habits. These short-term goals are part of an ongoing plan for many young adults to bring their long-term goals to fruition. So what financial goals do millennials and Gen Z ultimately want to achieve?

Above all, millennials and Gen Z are saving money in 2023 as part of their effort to achieve financial independence. Millennial savings goals are focused on financial independence in retirement. Meanwhile, Gen Zers are setting their sights on homeownership and building a life of their own. Follow these personal finance tips to build the future you want.

Financial advice for young adults in 2023

Set a budget and stick to it

In a survey about Gen Z financial habits, researchers found that only half of the generation has a budget. Additionally, 42.6% are struggling to keep up with their expenses. Budgeting is essential whether you’re saving for a down payment or a security deposit on your very own apartment.

Setting a strict budget ensures that you’re prepared for surprise expenses and making progress toward your goals. Here are a few budgeting tips for young adults to keep their goals on track.

Budgeting for young adults

Proportional budgeting

In this budgeting method, you divide expenses into three main categories. Often, people follow what’s called the 50/30/20 rule, where you allocate 50% of your budget to necessities, 30% to wants, and 20% to savings.

You can also adjust how you divide your budget based on what works for you. For example, if your necessities take up 60% of your budget, then maybe you allocate 20% to wants and 20% to savings.

Zero-based budgeting

A zero-based budget allocates every cent you make to a specific purpose. Whether you spend money on a night out or put it into savings, everything is accounted for. The ultimate goal of this budgeting method is to meet all of your financial needs and long-term goals.

In other words, consider how much money you make, and allocate everything to a specific purpose. And don’t be afraid to get granular with this budgeting method. Identify a purpose for everything, until your left with $0.


Whereas proportional and zero-based budgeting prioritizes necessary expenses over all others, this method allocates money to savings first. As a result, this method is a great way to gradually build your savings. Even if you’re starting from scratch, you can leverage automatic deposits to build your savings every time payday comes around.

Not sure how to manage money in a way that works best with your budget and goals? Our financial wellness experts can help you select the best budgeting method.

Build your emergency savings first

Our number one financial tip is to start with an emergency fund. Without an emergency savings fund, unexpected expenses could set back any progress you make toward your goals. In fact, research reveals that 60% of consumers cite unexpected expenses as their biggest barrier to achieving their savings goals.

Before building toward long-term goals like retirement or a down payment, you need an emergency fund to cover surprises. Otherwise, may find yourself dipping into your long-term savings plan anytime car trouble, vet bills, or other unplanned expenses arise.

How much should you have in your emergency savings fund?

Generally, people aim to save three to six months’ worth of expenses in their emergency fund. When deciding how much to save, consider the total cost of your necessary expenses like rent, electricity, and food. It’s also important to think about what kind of unexpected expenses you’re more likely to encounter.

For example, many people work in industries where layoffs are more common or freelance and deal with periods where business is slow. If that’s the case for you, consider how long you feel it would take to find reliable work again. Maybe you envision it taking longer than six months, so it’s best to be financially prepared for that type of situation.

Save now to build your future with SECU

What do you want to achieve in the future? Whatever your savings goals may be, SECU can help you get there.

Our wide array of savings accounts includes options with competitive interest rates and flexibility. Plus, if you’re not sure what’s best for your goals, we can help. Schedule a free appointment with a financial wellness expert to start making your savings goals a reality.

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