Previous YouthInsight research found that for 24 per cent of Gen Zs, not having enough money was one of the hardest things about being a young person. Today, the massive increase to cost of living puts further pressure on young people.

Homelessness Australia reports that Australian students are being left with just $13 per day as Youth Allowance remains too low to afford soaring rents. This week, the Albanese government announced that it is set to increase the Jobseeker rate for people aged over 55 in the May budget, without an increase to the almost 700,000 other people on Youth Allowance and Jobseeker.


  1. Not having enough money is the second highest stressor for University and TAFE students, and the number one stressor for young people who are not studying.
  2. When it comes to issues concerning young people, they feel misunderstood by older generations.
  3. Mental health, saving money, and the cost-of-living pressure are some of the hardest things about being a young person today.

In 2022 we conducted research with over 1,000 young Australians aged 12 to 25, which found that for University and TAFE students, not having enough money was their second highest life stressor. For those not studying, this financial pressure was their number one life stressor overall.

This week, the ABC reported that some young people have been forced to make a choice between work or tertiary study due to the inadequate rate of Youth Allowance. Without an increase to Youth Allowance payments, continued education is becoming an option reserved for the privileged few.

In April, a bill to pause HECS-HELP debt indexation and to raise the minimum repayment income was rejected. As a result, Australian students and graduates are set to see a 7 per cent increase to their student loans on June 1, adding further pressure in an already untenable financial environment.

What are young people saying?

Our research shows that Gen Zs are money conscious, with 90 per cent always looking for ways to save money, and 72 per cent reporting that they use a budget and are careful with their spending. New research from the US reports that though financial literacy is low across generations, this is more pronounced among Gen Z and even lower for Millennials.

As 70 per cent of Gen Zs experienced financial stress over the past year, one Student Edge member says that many young people “feel the need to give up their social life in order to save [for] housing, retirement, general living expenses. Going out seems like a privilege only afforded to some people.”

In our 2022 Student Edge Members Research, young people reported that economic failings, out-of-reach housing, saving money, and the cost-of-living pressure were some of the hardest things about being a young person today. These difficulties were reported alongside mental health, overall uncertainty about the future, and a worsening climate as issues of most concern.

Our research with R U OK? found similar outcomes, as young people reported feeling misunderstood by older generations in relation to mental health issues (32%), money and cost of living (14%), and climate change and sustainability (5%).


As financial pressure is one of the top life stressors for Gen Zs, young people in Australia urgently need adequate financial supports to alleviate stress and tools to improve their financial wellbeing.

  1. In the current financial crisis, an increase to the Jobseeker rate marked only for those aged 55 and over does not recognise that all people on unemployment payments require an increase to be lifted out of poverty – including those on Youth Allowance.
  2. With reports of young people now making the choice between study and work due to the inadequate rate of Youth Allowance, without robust financial supports for Gen Z tertiary education will overwhelmingly become a privilege reserved for the few.
  3. Today, over 80 per cent of students are working while studying – Universities and tertiary education providers must consider how they can better support students in balancing their work and study commitments with the current cost-of-living pressures.

Get in touch with YouthInsight to request a complimentary lunch and learn session where we take you and your team through the latest Gen Z and student insights: