A woman works remotely. Gen Z are so aggressive that they are prepared to move for a job offer that requires them to work weekends. PHOTO/File


How tech-savvy Gen Zs invest their money

What you need to know:

Gen Z investors are placing their money in forex trading, non-fungible tokens, and cryptocurrency.

“Money comes and goes. But I’ll never be in my 20’s again,” Catherine Najjuka, a 22-year-old Information Technology student who is finishing up her university degree, says. “This is my little life.”

Generation Z finds it difficult to control their cravings but they suspect their curse is the lack of financial literacy. This has made this generation adored by brands. Now every website that Gen Z visit, from Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, mobile games, and X (formerly Twitter), is inundated with advertisements.

But each generation approaches money differently and assigns distinct values to various commodities.

Millennials, for instance, are well-known for squandering their paycheck on avocados and expensive coffees, but many economists point out that they are actually more frugal than the public realises.

Entrepreneur Jeff Desjardins recently told the World Economic Forum (WEF) that the challenges faced by Millennials as they matured, is the slow wage growth and unstable economic conditions. This ultimately influenced their spending patterns and perspectives on debt.

He notes that the millennials made their fair share of financial errors along the way, but that, surprisingly, is being corrected by many Gen Z because they want to really avoid the overspending and debt that 40 percent of millennials incurred in order to maintain their social lives, according to WEF financial data.

Where do they invest?
The twenty-something generation has learnt to invest in stocks and bonds at a younger age than their parents did.

Gen Z investors are placing their money in forex trading, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and cryptocurrency, in contrast to the older generation’s traditional preference for assets like real estate, stocks, and bonds.

With others, gambling is a tryout. Official government records show that gambling in Uganda, which is dominated by the young, cost Shs2 trillion after wagering Shs2.4 trillion in the first six months of this financial year. 

“The Gen Z’s like technology a lot. Crypto and forex is advertised in a sense to appeal to them. But these asset classes are very complicated. I recommend that they start with the simple ones like buying and selling shares of companies before they graduate to the complex money markets. 

When you invest in forex for instance, like the Japanese Yen, you need to know the dynamics of the economy that drive it up and down. How will most of these people know that investors in Japan are seeing property markets or trade or monetary policies as influences to their hold of currencies?” Mr Andrew Mwiima, a financial adviser in Kampala asks.

Gen Z are so aggressive that they are prepared to move for a job offer that requires them to work weekends and evenings and nights. They love high-risk jobs, such as working in dangerous factories and con artists, because they guarantee higher incomes sufficient to support their desired lifestyles.

“13 years is the average age Gen Z start researching financial planning. Majority of them already own a savings account, health insurance, credit account and a checking account,” WEF data shows.

But this desire for money has landed many into problems. Few Gen Z’s can truly say that they have succeeded in the new, intriguing money-making endeavors like network marketing, cryptocurrency, and forex trading.

“My sister was convinced to join a network marketing scheme. She invested Shs2 million to grow. But it was banned after sometime. The firm was called Development Channel majoring in selling electronic pads. Since then I have changed my view on these new economic ventures that are unpopular,” says Joan Nabaggala, a 27 year old.

Since having money only gives her the impression that “I can fly” or “I can do anything,” Ms Nabaggala says that she still finds it difficult to fully understand financial literacy.

Gen Z as a whole love spending a lot. Brands are even attempting to learn about the shopping habits and desires of these walking paradoxes because of this.
Despite prioritising convenience and social responsibility, this target market is not well-off. 
“It has been a challenge for me. But as I have done a few gigs and I have learnt that I need to be patient and give in what it takes to get what I want,” she says.

Gen Z is very much into self-care. They search for apparel that will distinguish them from the crowd and make them appear seductive, akin to “the princess Grace of Monacco.” They call money ‘dime.’

The average Gen Z shopper makes their first luxury purchase at the age of 15, compared to 19 for their peers in their 30s, according to consulting firm Bain.

Some people invest in luxury goods as a safety measure because they think their value will hold up in hard times. Thankfully, used goods like these are now easily tradeable on websites like Jiji and Kikuubo.
Many Gen Z note that luxury like Gucci is essential because today’s world demands it.  

Brands literally put a lot of money into the bodies of their icons—football players, singers, artists, and actors—to demonstrate to them that wearing those products makes them happy. But some refute that, arguing that maintaining the cash craze is expensive. 

“I prefer buying average items I can manage, and things that can fit into my finances. Luxury doesn’t give back returns because it’s a liability and needs a lot of money because trends keep changing and it always mounts pressure for a new brand,” Jabel Kugonza, a 24-year-old says.

Since most people graduate from college at the average age of 23, they are on the eves of getting money. As money-making endeavors change in the tech-savvy world with cryptocurrency, many are juggling skills and knowledge of these systems. 

“The main jobs that we grew up knowing and admiring are on the decline. These tech jobs are coming in and require us to learn and adjust,” Mr Kugonza added.