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The Gen Z Wealth Boom in the USA

Frederik Bussler

Frederik Bussler

Frederik Bussler is the Gen Z owner of New York marketing firm Bussler & Co and a two-time acquired start-up founder.

A new generation of affluence is rising faster than ever before. American Gen Zers, the oldest now entering their late 20s, have already accumulated substantial wealth through inheritance, investments, and entrepreneurship.

Cerulli Associates estimates a seismic USD 84 trillion will transfer from baby boomer wealth in the USA to heirs, with Gen Z front and center. This “great wealth transfer” has already started. In 2022, an impressive 30% of 25-year-olds in the USA owned homes, overtaking millennials and Gen Xers who struggled with recessions and loans.

But it’s not just about the wealth transfer. While millennials entered adulthood during a financial crisis, Gen Z came of age during an economic boom. The majority of American Gen Z have strong credit scores and less school debt than previous generations. They’re ready and able to deploy capital at unprecedentedly young ages.

This influx of affluence is radically transforming lifestyles of America’s young and wealthy. Consider the statistics: Gen Z and the upcoming Alpha generation’s luxury goods expenditure is expected to surge at a rate 3X faster than their predecessors, according to a Bloomberg report. Christie’s auction house similarly saw a 65% increase in new Gen Z buyers just last year as this cohort storms the fine art world.

Young wealthy blonde female wearing beige hat and coat looking over her shoulder while embarking on a private airplane on a runway

This influx of affluence allows America’s Gen Z millionaires and billionaires to live life on their own terms — and on their own global terms at that.

Digital nomads with multiple passports

Many among the rich US Gen Z cohort are embracing borderless, globetrotting lifestyles. In fact, the rapid increase in location independent Gen Z remote workers is the primary driver of digital nomad growth. After all, Gen Z wages are growing twice as fast as those of other generations. As a result, they’re not afraid to spend, and a Visa US study shows that Gen Z takes longer international trips than other generations.

They toggle between luxury residences in cities such as Miami, Dubai, London, and Singapore. Their top picks offer favorable residence and tax policies such as Portugal's “Digital Nomad Visa” and analogous programs from the likes of Antigua, Dubai, and Malta. Second passports provide security amid global turbulence and uncertainty.

Entrepreneurs hitting their stride  

Further Gen Z wealth stems from cashing in on start-ups. A Fortune article notes that the Founder Institute, a well-known start-up incubator, hosts 350 Gen Z-run start-ups. More broadly, 50% of Gen Z is interested in starting a business. This is also evident on X, formerly Twitter, where thousands of Gen Z individuals in the “money Twitter” space share about their entrepreneurial ventures.

This cohort of Gen Z founders and investors is fast-growing. In August 2022, I wrote an Entrepreneur article analyzing the rise of Gen Z wealth. At the time, the “Gen Z VCs” community had 14,000 members. Today, it boasts almost twice as many, with 27,000 young investors.

Alexandr Wang became a billionaire at 25 when his firm, Scale AI, was valued at USD 7.3 billion. Pedro Franceschi reached the same status co-founding Brex. Young phenoms such as these have benefited from record-breaking liquidity events across SaaS, AI, eCommerce, and other high-growth areas.

Then there are social media influencers: Achieng Agutu, a creator with around 500,000 followers, earned over USD 1 million in her first year. This opportunity for wealth creation is not only for the ultra-famous — even micro-influencers report six-figure salaries.

Watches and supercars as flexes 

With sudden fortunes landing in their 20-something hands, conspicuous consumption follows for those inclined to show off. Suburbs around Silicon Valley and San Francisco lead in Gen Zers paying cash for multi-million-dollar mansions. But you’ll also spot Patek Philippe watches worth six figures and Lamborghini Huracáns popping up across Instagram feeds from Lake Tahoe to Miami Beach. 

These Gen Z luxury buyers are no small group, either. A survey of 1,000 Gen Y and Zers found that 60% felt it’s “very important/important” to own a luxury watch. Plus, Sotheby’s reports that around 30% of its watch sales last year went to buyers 30 and under. These findings extend to other goods as well, with studies revealing that Gen Z buyers are more likely to purchase luxury cars than any other generation.

Of course, many American Gen Z don’t just empty their bank accounts on sports cars and watches. As mentioned, nearly a third of 25-year-olds are homeowners, and they have additional capital to enjoy. An increasing number also discuss diversified portfolios, angel investing, and impact priorities aligned with their values. Nonetheless, the flashing of luxury symbols remains irresistible for those achieving so much success so rapidly. The difference is, they’re increasingly buying into brands and ideals rather than just buying their products.

The bottom line

Wealthy American Gen Zers are just getting started but make no mistake — a seismic transfer of trillion-dollar fortunes to this generation is unfolding. How they handle newfound affluence could transform society’s perceptions of the young and wealthy.

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