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40% of Gen Z-ers expect to retire at 50(!) But how?

September 9, 2022
3 minute read
bunq rainbow

Saving for later, living for now or working forever…

These days those play out like a game of rock paper scissors: no one option beats the other two, especially not for young people. With retirement ages steadily increasing, many wonder if younger generations will one day enjoy the same perks today’s elderly do, or if they’ll permanently have to balance saving, living and working.


We wanted to hear what millennials and Gen Z-ers themselves have to say about it: what are their thoughts on their own financial future, how do they plan ahead, and when - if ever - do they see themselves retiring?


Together with PanelWizard, bunq asked over a thousand millennials (aged 28-42) and Gen Z-ers (aged 18-27) about their future. Here are some of the surprising things we learned:

40% of Gen Z expects to retire by 50 (!)

When asked if they expect to be financially independent by the age of 50, the answer of 40% of Gen Z-ers was a resounding yes. Of the surveyed millennials nearly 25% was equally optimistic.


Given the fact that the retirement age has been going up all over Europe in recent years, it’s remarkable that so many young people have such a positive outlook on their financial future. It raises the question: how do they plan to reach financial independence by the age of 50? In other words, how do you juggle saving, living and working in such a way you can retire early?


There are multiple ways to become financially independent, so let’s see how Gen Z-ers and millennials go about it.

Saving, budgeting and setting long-term goals

Perhaps the most straightforward way to ensure you’ll be able to retire is to save money, budget carefully and have clear financial goals. Surprisingly though, 39% of our respondents don't set any long-term financial goals and 42% never set money aside.

Anyone who’s ever used the bunq app knows how easy it is to save up for a new phone or a holiday with friends, but it’s just as easy to let bunq help you reach long-term goals, such as retirement.
Long-term saving was quite common among people who are currently enjoying their retirement, and with bunq it’s easier than ever for young people to follow the same strategy. So if later generations lack the clear financial savings goals their parents had, what plans do they have?

Starting a business

Setting up your own business and then building it up successfully is one of the most accessible ways of achieving financial independence. Gen Z-ers and millennials seem to be keenly aware of this, as more than 50% of them are seriously considering the entrepreneurial road to financial independence.

Perhaps the most surprising find wasn’t so much that younger generations have an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s their reason for being so open to the idea of having their own business: gen Z-ers especially value the ability to determine their own working hours and location. For 67% this alone would be reason enough for starting their own company.

This longing for freedom was particularly strong among digital nomads, who stood out in multiple ways:

Digital nomads seem to be best at long-term financial planning

Unlike their peers who live and work in their home country, digital nomads are more inclined to set money aside for their future, more likely to set clear financial goals for themselves, and almost 30% more likely to start their own business than their stay-at-home counterparts.

At first glance, it may seem a bit surprising to learn that digital nomads - people who love to travel and embrace the now like few others - have a better long-term plan when it comes to their finances. Yet they clearly seem to pursue the most ways to prepare for their future: they save money and set clear financial goals much like generations before them, but at the same time are well aware of the great opportunities entrepreneurship offers, all while traveling the world and exploring new places.

Digital nomads as today’s financial gurus? Sounds weird maybe, until you realize that…

Freedom is today’s true currency

The one thing that Gen Z-ers, millennials and the digital nomads among them all have in common is their desire for freedom. 30 years ago, making it big meant living in a big house with all the money in the world. These days, being rich is expressed in how free we are. Making it big has come to mean being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, with whomever you want.

The answers we got from the people we surveyed confirm this. Gen Z-ers, and to a slightly lesser extent millennials as well, no longer think of wealth in terms of what they have, but in terms of what they can do.

Of course, the more you plan your financial future, the more freedom you’ll have. That’s why we designed the bunq app to give you the best of both worlds: living it up in the present with countless features that make it easy to travel the world and have a good time with your friends, while at the same time planning ahead with multiple ways to effortlessly grow your long-term wealth or even start your own business.

How do you see your financial future? Are you someone who’s saving for retirement, or have you considered starting your own business in order to reach financial independence?

For more info on how the bunq app fits your lifestyle, simply click here.

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