Why Gen Z aren't having any fun.

You might have us confused for another version of ourselves. 

The younger Generation Z. The 'us' from three or four years ago.

We look different now. 

Definitely a little older, perhaps a bit wiser – and a hell of a lot more frugal.

There's a reason for it and it's not just because I'm now staring down the barrel of 25 instead of 23 (there's a difference between the two, believe me).

Before, I yearned to be out once night fell, dancing with strangers and spending my limited income on every alcoholic beverage possible. Waking up with a banging hangover was just a reminder that I'd enjoyed my night. And staying inside felt like a punishment following strict(ish) COVID lockdowns in Sydney.

Two years on, I'm not mourning the headaches or the empty bank accounts, but I am missing a life that feels far away – the nightlife that used to persist.

Because my generation just isn't having fun anymore.

Watch: 5 money lessons your parents told you, that you should probably forget... Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

A new report from GWI found Gen Z might feel less sceptical than we once were. But the litany of bad news over the last few years — from COVID, to the war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis — has impacted our confidence in our own futures.


Of course, these are stressors that affect every generation, from our youngest to our oldest — but for young adults who are just at the beginning of our careers, the impact is starting to feel... insurmountable.

And Stake's Chief Commercial Officer Jon Howie tells Mamamia that Generation Z's apprehension about the future isn't surprising either.

"Gen Z has come of age in a particularly turbulent period. They experienced huge disruption in their academic, work and social lives due to the pandemic, and this has quickly been followed by a cost of living crisis," Howie said.

Research conducted by Stake revealed that 71 per cent of Gen Z have cut back on going out in the last six months.

"While that’s not to say they aren’t enjoying their 20s, the challenges they’ve faced mean many are looking for financial security earlier into adulthood," Howie continued. 

"Inflation is impacting the lifestyles of most Australians, but Gen Z has seen the biggest reduction in discretionary spending across categories like dining out, retail, travel and entertainment."

Nearly half of young people have cut back on spending on going out, which Howie says is an indication we're looking for more affordable ways to spend time with friends – either staying in, opting for house gatherings or participating in low-cost activities.

That's not the only reason Gen Z aren't enjoying ourselves, though. 


We're exhausted, burnt out and suffering from a reality generations have not experienced in their lifetimes: According to a GWI report, the climate emergency has taken a mental toll on Gen Z, whose lives are underpinned by the global crisis.

At least three in 10 young people say they're prone to anxiety, and the blame is squarely placed on outcomes out of their control.

Howie says that while there is optimism for the future, Gen Z is facing daily battles that Millennials simply didn't have to deal with in their 20s.

"The economic outlook for Gen Z is tough as they navigate an environment of high property prices, slow wage growth, increasing HECS debt payments, and an uncertain economy," Howie says. "That said, this generation is far more financially engaged than those before it, and young people deserve credit for taking opportunities to educate themselves and prioritise their future."

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to look forward to.

We'll grow older, and the lines on our faces will become a reminder of how lucky we are that we got to live.

Some of us will get married and start families of our own. Others might eventually win the real estate lottery and own our own homes.

But whatever we have to look forward to doesn't take away from the fact that right now, things are feeling a little bleak. 

We're tired, we're holding on to our dollars – and we're not having any bloody fun.

Feature Image: Getty.