4 minute read

Gen C vs Gen Z: Impact in Estate Planning

Gen C and Gen Z are the two newest generations. What will their estate plans need to look like? Trust & Will makes some predictions.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

The differences and similarities between Gen C vs Gen Z are beginning to take shape, as the newest generation is born and grows up in the midst – and aftermath – of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Gen Z is diverse and facing an uncertain financial future, and some experts are suggesting that Gen C might be even more tumultuous. Estate planning for both generations is going to require creativity, a focus on socially conscious investments, and bold moves that will allow members of both generations to retire comfortably on time. 

With the unpredictability of COVID-19 having aftershocks on the economy for decades to come, it’s going to be vital that the newest generations have solid estate planning to protect and provide for them.

What Is Gen Z?

Generation Z is the generation right after Millennials, starting with people born in 1997 and ending around 2012. This is a generation raised with digital technology, and most have no idea what life was like before smartphones. It’s the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, while also poised to become the most educated one.

Gen Z is much like Millennials when it comes to a progressive viewpoint. Many are labeled social justice warriors because of their commitment to various causes. The oldest Gen Zers are just finishing college and entering the workforce, and their latest moves include demanding change. They want the opportunity to work remotely, a healthy starting salary, and generous benefits packages.

What Does Gen Z Care Most About?

Gen Z is a diverse generation, which means they care more about diversity and inclusion than generations that came before them. Ask a Gen Zer, and they’ll tell you that global warming and climate change have been virtually ignored by previous generations. They care about the environment and believe that serious change must be made if they’re to protect their planet.

Members of Gen Z are also deeply connected through digital technology. They were raised on social media and are adept at using (and creating!) social platforms in order to make a change in the world. Gen Z is tired of what they view as limited opportunities. They’re willing to use their voices in order to be heard.

Social movements are important this generation, as many are part of one marginalized community or another. From Black Lives Matter, to the LGBTQIA+ community, a vast majority of Gen Zers are supportive of social movements that promote inclusion, justice, and equality.

What Is Gen C?

Gen C, or Generation Covid, is the emerging generation of today. This is a generation of people being born into a world during an unprecedented global pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis is a time where uncertainty reigns, and this group will need to navigate a society where everything is in flux. 

Major events often denote when one generation ends and a new one begins. The pandemic of COVID-19 appears to be doing just that, creating a dividing line between Gen Z vs Gen C. 

Read – Generation C: The Emerging Demographic in Estate Planning for an in-depth look at how this generation needs to view estate planning. 

What Does Gen C Care Most About?

Gen C is still young. In fact, the majority are still toddlers or not even born yet. Predictions for Gen C and what will matter to them can be extrapolated by looking at what’s important to their big-brother generation, Gen Z. 

Early predictions back the idea that Gen C is likely to be more focused on healthcare and risk management than prior generations have been, particularly given that they’re being raised in the time of a global pandemic.

Parents of Gen C children are concerned. Not only are these children being born during a time of a physical health crisis, but mental health needs are sure to be a big focus for them as well. There will be a huge push to deal with the aftermath of growing up in a time of wearing masks, waning vaccinations, and an overall sense of grief.

Gen C is likely to follow in the footsteps of Gen Z, with inclusivity and diversity continuing to shape their budding generation. Gen Z is already full of more diversity than any previous generation before them, and Gen C is expected to lapse even that. This increasing diversity will further the need for social movements focused on promoting equality for everyone.

Read more about previous generations in: The Millennial vs Boomer Generational Wealth Gap 

Gen C vs Gen Z - How Do They Compare?

The biggest difference between Gen C vs Gen Z is obvious. It’s the emergence of COVID-19. This is the dividing event for the two generations, and the pandemic will present challenges for both. Gen Z will remember a time when the pandemic wasn't around, while Gen C may not even remember the crisis at all. Instead, they’ll just grow up in a world that differs from what people older than them once knew. 

The oldest of Gen Z are just graduating from college, while the oldest of Gen C are not even in school. Both do and will rely heavily on technology, and neither will know of a time before smartphones, digital connectivity, and social media. Gen C will have even more opportunities to utilize technology in school.

Each of these generations will have mental health needs not seen in previous decades. Their development, education, and social interactions have been interrupted, and this may continue as new strains of COVID-19 develop.

It’s also possible (some might even go so far as to say likely) that Gen Z will have more health concerns, as the long-term effects of a COVID-19 infection are not yet fully understood. As Gen C grows up, new technology and vaccine development may end the risk of infection.

What Does This Mean for Gen C & Gen Z Estate Planning? 

For Gen Z, estate planning is vital to a more stable financial future. With job growth uncertain and safety nets such as social security at risk, Gen Z will need to begin estate planning early in order to be prepared for retirement.

For Gen C, estate planning will heavily focus on things like the importance of establishing Power of Attorneys (POAs) and Advanced Directives. This generation will grow up with an understanding of how incredibly important planning for the future is. They’ll know the need to prepare for a time in life when they’re unable to manage their affairs because of an illness. While young people in the past usually haven’t been too concerned about assigning Advanced Directives, Gen C will know it’s vital.

What is the sandwich generation? Find out in: Sandwich Generation Meaning & Financial Planning Tips 

Update Your Estate Plan Today

The differences between Gen C vs Gen Z haven’t yet fully materialized, but both are expected to be impacted by the appearance of COVID-19. Both generations will need to focus on estate planning, as future financial stability is likely to remain uncertain.

Gen Z and Gen C are each poised to make significant changes to society, through the use of social media, technology, and progressive ideologies. It’s going to be both important, and interesting, to witness how they manage the problems created by previous generations, including understanding from a young age how important estate planning is. 

Trust & Will is an easy, affordable, and effective online platform that allows you to create or update your Estate Plan today - because no matter what generation you’re in, there’s no better time to start preparing for your future than right now.  Gen Z and Gen C are vastly different, but at the end of the day, both are raised with opportunity, education, and the ability to change their world. Responsible estate planning is sure to be a huge part of that.  Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options today!

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