Money Dysmorphia: Report Says Millennials Have Distorted View Of Personal Finances

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Feb. 8 2024, Published 3:26 p.m. ET

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Nearly half of millennials and Gen Z are obsessed with being rich and are experiencing “money dysmorphia,” according to a recent study by Intuit Credit Karma.

The report’s researchers define “money dysmorphia” involves having a distorted view of their finances that leads them to making bad decisions. The term was coined in late 2023 after people started questioning how well they were doing financially on social media. The money dysmorphia trend has had a negative impact on millennials’ and Gen Z’s finances.

The report found that 41% of millennials and 43% of Gen Z say they have experience money dysmorphia. Only a quarter of Gen X and 14% of respondents over the age of 59 said they experience money dysmorphia.

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Those who experience money dysmorphia said they feel behind on their finances, with 59% of millennials and 48% of Gen Z experiencing feeling behind, which likely leads to feeling financially inadequate, according to the report.

Interestingly, while many say they feel behind, nearly 60% said they feel financially stable, an example of the distortion millennials and Gen Z experience between how they feel they are doing and how they are doing in reality.

According to the report, money dysmorphia is tied to comparison, where people are obsessed with being rich when being rich seems unattainable. Nearly half of millennials (46%) and Gen Z (44%) admitted to being obsessed with the idea of being rich. However, more than half (52%) of Americans polled said they don’t think they’ll ever be rich.

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Nearly all (95%) of those with money dysmorphia said it negatively impacts their finances, with 40% saying it’s held them back from building savings, 38% saying it’s led them to overspend, and 32% saying they’ve taking on more debt because of it.

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Source: Pexels

If you are wondering whether you are suffering from money dysmorphia, financial expert Ali Katz told Good Morning America there are few things to keep an eye out for.

“You’re always just getting by, you never quite have enough, or your constantly change more, or you’re at rock bottom,” she said.

To manage or prevent money dysmorphia, Katz told Good Morning American people should get clear about needs and wants and assign money values to each. Then, evaluate your relationship with money and unlearn old or bad money habits.

“Get really clear on what you actually need to life the life you want, what are the resources you have to create that, and then what do you need to fill in the gap between what you need and what you actually have,” Katz said.

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By: Gillian Smith

Gillian Smith is a professional communicator by day and night, leveraging more than a decade in the news industry to share stories that have a positive impact on society. Gillian believes everyone has a story worth telling, and she has made it her professional mission to tell those stories in a responsible way. Gillian received a BA in journalism from Ithaca College and a Master's in Journalism Innovation from Syracuse University. She is currently the director of external communication and media relations at Suffolk University.

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