Gen Zer With 6-Figure Savings Account Wonders What They're Saving Money For Since They Can't Afford To Buy A House

She's loaded compared to her peers, but still can't afford a home. What's the point?

Gen Z budgeting money Kmpzzz / Shutterstock

Most of us were told as young people to save our nickels and dimes so that we could one day make the safe investment of buying a house. But if you followed that advice only to end up in THIS housing market ... well, what then? 

Case in point: a story that recently appeared in an advice column about a well-off young person questioning saving their money when it seems clear that it will never truly be enough.


A Gen Zer with six-figure savings wonders what's the point of saving money in this economy.

For sure, this young person is living a dream life compared to many of their Gen Z contemporaries. Studies have shown that due to inflation, Gen Z is struggling financially far more than the millennials did at their age, which is really saying something.

This Gen Zer, who wrote into Slate's "Pay Dirt" financial advice column, is among them. They've been careful and thrifty, and have tried to save as much of their salary as possible, totaling just over $100,000.

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Interestingly, their six-figure savings account isn't totally out of the ordinary. Surely due to the constant economic crises and the cutthroat job market they've been thrust into, studies have found that the average Gen Zer started saving for retirement at 22, a full 15 years earlier than previous generations.

Still, this young person says they're an outlier among their friends, who they wrote "are still in very 'spendy' times of their lives — a lot of them spend big on going out/vacations/etc." When it comes to saving money, their friends routinely wonder, "'What am I even saving for?'"

And given economic conditions — ones their savings account is no match for, despite its six-figure status — this Gen Zer is starting to side with their friends. "Lately, I’ve been wondering, what am I actually saving for?"

The Gen Zer wonders if they should spend their money instead.

"The chances of affording a home one day in my high cost of living area are actually very small," they wrote, adding that "a lot of people here are lifelong renters, even into middle age," which is typical of many large cities like New York.


That may sound like negativity or doldrums, but they're probably right. Home prices in the U.S. just hit an all-time high in May of 2024, and large cities like New York and Los Angeles are leading the pack when it comes to price increases, which have skyrocketed nationally by 54% since 2019.

@yourtango The math IS mathing: Boomers really DID have it easier than subsequent generations. #genz #genx #millennial #boomer #math #costofliving @Andra B ♬ original sound - YourTango

And, like the last time home prices were insane, experts say housing prices are unlikely to fall soon without some kind of national financial collapse like in 2008 — which they say is highly improbable.

So what gives, then? Conventional wisdom is to scrimp and save to buy a home, but this Gen Zer is confused as to what you're supposed to do instead. "Of course, there’s money for emergencies and retirement," they wrote, "but beyond that what is all this money actually for?"


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Financial experts say there is more to saving than buying a home because money equals security.

The "Pay Dirt" financial expert had the same advice that many of you who are older likely have as well — there are far more things to save for than just a house, especially in an economy as precarious as ours.

"I’d like to reframe your questions," the expert wrote. "Imagine if what you’re saving for are 'options and opportunities.'" They explained that this could be anything from taking a year off work to helping loved ones, retiring early down the road, or donating to charity causes.

It also opens up options for the way our lives often change as we get older — whether we want to change careers, have kids and stay home, or our family needs us to be caregivers.


"Having money in the bank (and hopefully the stock market) gives you the option and opportunity to explore and experience your life differently," the expert wrote.

Nothing stays the same forever — including the economy and the things we think we want when we're young.

The "Pay Dirt" expert also pointed out that there are more real estate opportunities than just buying a home, from vacation houses to investment properties. But there are other possibilities neither this expert nor this Gen Zer is considering.

It's easy to be convinced in your 20s that you know exactly what you want for the rest of your life. But as someone in my 40s, I can tell you that what you want often changes, sometimes multiple times.

@jayshetty Change requires a conscious decision 🙏 @melrobbins ♬ Somewhere In Between - August Wilhelmsson

I thought I'd be a lifelong renter, too. I spent most of my 20s in Los Angeles and thought I'd be there for the rest of my life, then moved to New York in my 30s and thought the same thing.


Then in my 40s, I realized I wanted to go back to the one place I swore up and down I'd never return to, the state I grew up in — ironically, a place I could afford to buy a house today if I'd been saving all that time I was wandering around!

@kimperetzz the birds chirping in the back have confirmed this message☺️🫶🏼#changeistheonlyconstant #spiritualjourney #selfimprovement #higherself ♬ original sound - Kim Peretz

Perhaps you will stay planted exactly where you are at 25 — many do! But the only constant in life is change. Live your life to the fullest, and spend accordingly. But don't not save for the future just because it's nebulous (or downright scary).


You might find one day that what you want changes, and you'll thank yourself for setting yourself up for whatever those dreams might end up being down the road.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.