Gen Z and Millennials want professional help paying down debt.

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The youngest adults were hit hardest financially by the pandemic, and it seems they’ve learned a lesson.

A recently-released survey from New York Life finds most Americans want to build up their emergency savings and pay down their credit card debt. Of the 2,000 Americans polled, Gen Z and Millennials were most likely to seek professional help to get their finances back on track.

“We see younger generations are beginning to understand the importance of building a sound financial strategy early,” said Aaron Ball, a New York Life VP. “Even if they don’t know exactly where to start, the new year provides an opportunity to revisit their goals and priorities.”

This could be why so many are eager to build a financial strategy this year…

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The financial pandemic

From Oct. 1-20, 2021, and Florida Atlantic University polled more than 1,000 Americans on their financial outlook before and after the pandemic. Gen Z and Millennial respondents were most likely to report the pandemic wrecked their finances.

Nearly 3 in 4 of Gen Z and half of Millennials said the pandemic caused them to drain their emergency savings. Even worse, 57 percent of Gen Z respondents said they stopped making credit card payments during the pandemic.

“The pandemic’s economic shock – and its after-effects – is affecting the oldest and youngest adults in America the most,” says Chairman Howard Dvorkin, CPA. “Younger Americans were already falling further behind financially and delaying life goals thanks to things like student loan debt. Now they are even further behind because of COVID.”

Rebuild after the storm

Those younger Americans needed some way to make ends meet through the peak of COVID. Who were they most likely to turn to? Mom and dad. has previously reported half of parents “helped their adult children financially during the pandemic.” Nearly 80 percent of survey respondents said they gave their kids money to “pay off debt, invest, or use for daily expenses.”

That means these financial troubles just trickle down from adult kids to their parents. Financial goals are different for everyone – young adults and their parents.

Ball says Gen Z and Millennials may not know where to start looking for professional help. Here’s one place with expert advice.’s certified credit counselors are ready and waiting to help make a plan.

It’s a free debt evaluation and those counselors understand not everyone needs the same blanket solution. They can talk through a holistic financial strategy.

“Each generation faces the need for more personalized financial guidance to help determine the next best steps to achieve their financial goals,” Ball said. “Understanding and feeling confident in longer-term financial outcomes should remain top-of-mind as people establish goals for the year.”

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About the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Joe Pye started writing about debt and personal finance five years ago while attending Florida Atlantic University, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the student-run newspaper, the University Press. Before graduating with a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism, Pye placed as a finalist for the Mark of Excellence award by the Society of Professional Journalists Region 3 for feature writing and in-depth reporting. In 2021, Pye earned First Place in the Green Eyeshade awards for "Best Blog" for his side-project Since taking a full-time position as associate editor at in 2018, Pye has become a certified debt management professional who's applied what he's learned to his personal life by paying down more than $22,000 worth of combined credit card, student loan, auto and tax debt in less than two years.

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