Study: Gen Z, millennials are ‘obsessed’ with idea of being rich

A new study shows that more than one-quarter of millennials and Gen Z generations are obsessed with the idea of being rich, which could be fueling money dysmorphia. 

The survey was conducted online by Qualtrics on behalf of Intuit Credit Karma in December. More than 1,000 U.S. adults above the age of 18 participated.

The study found that 27% of Americans said they’re obsessed with the idea of being rich. This was especially true for younger generations with 44% of Gen Z and 46% of millennials admitting to being obsessed with the idea. 

Money dysmorphia

They also found that nearly 30% of Americans experience money dysmorphia. The phenomenon occurs when people feel insecure about their financial standing, no matter the reality of their situation.

The problem was much more pronounced among younger generations with 43% of Gen Z and 41% of millennials saying they experience money dysmorphia, compared to 25% of Gen X and just 14% of respondents aged 59 or above.    

"Money dysmorphia is kind of like today’s version of keeping up with the Joneses," said Courtney Alev, a consumer financial advocate at Credit Karma. "A lot of people are examining their finances and comparing themselves to their peers, people on social media, and even celebrities, which is bringing up feelings of inadequacy."

The researchers said the growing trend is having a negative impact on people’s finances, especially younger generations. Of those who experience money dysmorphia, the majority of respondents (82%) said they felt behind on their finances.

File: Woman lays down on pile of money. (Credit: PeopleImages / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Nearly half (48%) of Gen Z and 59% of millennials said they feel behind financially, likely contributing to feelings of financial inadequacy. Despite this, 59% of respondents also reported feeling financially stable. 

They also said money dysmorphia could be fueled by people’s obsession with being rich at a time when being rich seems increasingly out of reach. More than half (54%) of respondents who experience money dysmorphia said they’re obsessed with the idea of being rich, compared to just 12% of those who do not struggle with the condition.

More than half of Americans don’t think they’ll ever be rich

Despite obsessing over the idea of extreme wealth, 52% of Americans said they don’t think they will ever be rich. That number jumps to 69% when looking at Americans with money dysmorphia.

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" A few ways to overcome money dysmorphia are to take an honest look at your finances, set clear goals, make a plan, and, most importantly, keep your eyes on your own paper," Alev continued. "If your goal is to build up your savings, start by doing an audit of your finances to see where in your budget you can make room for savings. From there, you can schedule automatic payments from each paycheck to help hold you accountable and incrementally increase your savings."

This story was reported from Los Angeles.