How Gen Z Is Redefining Prosperity, Minimalism, and Success

Thursday, January 30, 2020, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

What does success in adulthood look like? The model has changed dramatically in recent years.

For decades, it meant some version of graduating from college, getting a steady job with one company, and buying a home in the suburbs.

But after the collapse of the tech bubble and the Great Recession, spiraling student debt and home prices have made younger generations wary of an ideal that’s becoming less and less relevant.

The older members of Gen Z are now in their 20s, and their ideas of success are changing to focus more on the individual and internal. What Boomers, Gen X, and millennials saw as a prosperous life has a new minimalist edge that goes beyond any cleanup that you’d find in the latest Marie Kondo book.

These values turn much of the old wisdom about success on its head.

  • Forget Debt — They Want Savings

    After seeing the fallout from previous generations’ reliance on credit cards, student loans and mortgages, it’s no wonder Gen Z wants to travel its own monetary roads. Gen Z’ers want better control of how their information is used and what their money does. That means accumulating savings and working on ways to stabilize their financial lives.

    Saving may be difficult because of lower pay and higher rent, but it can be done.

    • Many people turn to savings games — which might focus, for example, on spending only on necessities or saving a certain amount of money in a month — to sock away small but steady amounts of money.

    • Others find that learning how to manage their credit scores gives them the boost they need to take control of their money.

  • Online Education — Learning More Affordably

    The student loan debacle left some Gen X’ers and many Millennials trapped under tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. As more people in Generation Z hit college age, they’re looking for ways to get an education without accumulating the sizable debt of their parents and older siblings.

    • Vocational training is one option. While two-year programs still carry a slight stigma in some quarters, their popularity and usefulness can’t be denied. A range of programs is available in a variety of fields:

      • Nursing and healthcare, including such positions as nursing and dental assistants, veterinary technicians, radiologists and phlebotomists

      • Emergency services such as firefighters, police officers and paramedics

      • Automotive specialists such as traditional and diesel mechanics

      • Positions in the culinary arts from line cooks to pastry chefs

      • Construction specialists from pipe-fitters to welders, electricians to carpenters

      • Legal specialists such as paralegals and court reporters

    • Another flexible option is online training, which typically requires no in-person classes, just a computer and internet access.

      • Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, allow people to take specialized sequences to gain specific skills. Many of these courses are free, although some offer certificates for a fee.

      • Other one-off courses allow people to learn important skills for a lower cost, such as safety or CPR training. When you want to learn but can’t stomach increasing your debt load, online training makes a lot of sense.

  • Restoration — What’s Old Can Be New Again

    For those Gen Z’ers lucky enough to find themselves in a position to buy a house, “new” is not exactly coveted — or even practical. Many in Gen Z aren’t interested in McMansions. They’re looking for older, smaller properties that may need some alterations.

    Those who can’t buy a home may find older properties to use as long-term rentals; they can even do some remodeling themselves (with the owner’s permission, of course). Whether they buy the home or arrange for a break on rent in exchange for fixing up a rental house, these Gen Z’ers save money and avoid contributing to sprawl by refurbishing older homes.

    In any case, most new homeowners start by cleaning out the property. This can result in a lot of waste, so it’s a great idea to rent a dumpster for all the old carpeting and other discarded material. Plotting a timeline and setting a budget are also key to the success of a renovation and move-in.

As it has done for millennia, the image of success will likely continue to change for future generations, too. For now, however, many members of Generation Z are blazing a new, more frugal path as they seek to carve out a better future for themselves.

This article was written By Jessica Larson,

Throw us a like at

Post a Comment on Content of the Article


This is not a billboard for your advertisement. Make comments on the content else your comments would be deleted promptly.

CommentLuv badge