The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted more people, now including younger ones at the age of 15 to 25, to save and invest in order to deal with their top fears and concerns these days – which include running out of money, getting sick, losing their lives or their loved ones, declining mental health, and drowning in debt.

A survey, titled “Know Your Ys and Zs: A closer look at the financial and mental well-being of Filipino Millennials and Generation Z in the time of COVID-19”, recently found out that Filipino Generation Ys or Millennials (aged 25-40) and Generation Zs (aged 15-24) are already taking more proactive steps toward achieving financial security and personal wellness.

To conduct the survey, insurer Manulife talked to 500 respondents across the Philippines between April and May 2021, to further understand the behaviors and habits of younger generations toward finance and the actions they are taking to achieve financial independence and improve mental wellness.

The study then showed as 87 percent of Millennials and Gen Zs are worried about uncertainties in the future, most of them save so they can protect themselves against an unfortunate future event, continue to fund their daily living expenses, and support their family’s future needs.

Moreover, Millennials and Gen Zs feel that they have limited funds and limited job opportunities during the pandemic, so 77 percent of them prioritize spending more on necessities than wants. Also, 82 percent don’t want to incur debt or take loans as much as possible, 82 percent save money every pay period or every month, 75 percent follow a monthly budget, and 87 percent avoid going over budget.

However, while they claim that at least 25 percent of their monthly income goes to savings, and they stick to a budget conscientiously, in reality, they are only able to save approximately 10 percent.

Despite these constraints, the study found that 81 percent of Millennials and Gen Zs have started taking steps to secure their future financially because they both believe it is important to know where their money goes.

In addition, 67 percent of Millennials have started investing in financial instruments, 79 percent are looking for ways to grow their money, and 77 percent are exploring diversifying their portfolios to mitigate risks.

On the other hand, Gen Zs are actively educating themselves about finance, recognizing that they are not yet financially stable amid the COVID-19 situation. As they pursue ways to achieve financial security, though, they have been quite ahead of the preceding generation.

Filipino Gen Zs, on average, start saving money at 17 years old and investing at 21, while Millennials only began saving at 23 and investing at 27.

Moreover, 92 percent of Gen Zs plan to purchase an insurance plan in the next one to two years, with life, health and variable unit-linked (VUL) products as their top considerations.

While both Millennials and Gen Zs own financial products, Millennials’ approach to investment is more accepting of risk, while acknowledging the need for protection. 79 percent of Millennials own insurance, 78 percent are subscribed to government savings programs, 60 percent are into cryptocurrency, 45 percent own accident insurance, and 38 percent have mutual funds.

More than 40 percent of Filipino Millennials also own pension and retirement products, while 29 percent own Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITFs).

Commenting on the survey results, Melissa Henson, Chief Marketing Officer of Manulife Philippines, said “while Millennials and Gen Z may have different priorities and goals, depending on where they are in their life journey, what is common is that the challenges brought by COVID-19 have accelerated their desire for financial stability”.

“They are now seeking more products and services that not only align with their beliefs and interests, but will also help them secure a more stable future,” Henson further said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (