Bank of America report: Parents are paying for Gen Z to lease in costly cities

Young people often dream of a bustling social life and a career in the city. The only problem? Gen Z can’t actually afford it.

Despite Gen Z being criticized for wasting money they don’t have on designer bags, caviar bumps and luxury getaways, a new Bank of America study has highlighted the biggest financial challenge facing those born between 1997 and 2012 is actually the sky-high cost of living.

In fact, according to the report, more than half the Gen Z respondents said they don’t make enough to live the life they want to. 

But instead of moving to the outskirts—where living costs are significantly cheaper—they’re asking their parents for money towards rent, food and bills.

Almost half of 18-to-27 year olds rely on familial financial support to keep their current lifestyle and 54% pay nothing towards their housing costs thanks to the bank of mom and dad. 

Where Gen Z are cutting costs

Gen Zers who don’t have any help paying their rent are seeing at least of a third of their pay packet go towards housing costs, the study found.

Yet instead of moving back home with their parents or to the outskirts to save money, they’re implementing major lifestyle changes.

While nearly half of the 1,100 American Gen Zers surveyed have cut back on dining out, 24% also do their food shop at more affordable grocery stores and 27% passed on the chance to go out with friends.

Plus, with so many young people today in the same boat, the research highlighted that being upfront about not having the money to go out has become the norm for this generation.

Over a third of Gen Zers are comfortable admitting they cannot afford to attend social events, meanwhile, 63% said they do not feel pressured by their friends to spend beyond their means.

This budget consciousness is laudable, added Holly O’Neill, President of Retail Banking at Bank of America. She said: “Though faced with obstacles driven by the cost of living, younger Americans are showing discipline and foresight in their saving and spending patterns.

“It is critical that we continue to empower Gen Z to work toward achieving financial health and meeting their long-term goals.”

Big cities aren’t everything

Young aspirational workers have traditionally moved to the city to increase their chances of securing a ritzy career. But big cities like New York are no longer concrete jungles where dreams are made. 

In fact, separate studies have shown students looking for a foot in the door of employment would be better off moving their search to Raleigh or Baltimore.

That’s because many major cities have become outrageously expensive and competition for jobs is higher than ever.

Although it’s easy to be tempted by the high salaries on offer in bustling metro areas, those paychecks don’t go far once higher housing costs are factored in.

“And to get that paycheck in the first place, you need to get hired,” the report from ADP Research Institute highlights, adding that young people are far more likely to actually land a job in smaller cities.

For example: Gen Zers could earn over $58,000 if they land a job in San Francisco’s Bay Area versus less than $53,000 in Raleigh—however, they have more than twice the chance of being hired in the first instance in the latter.