"I Am Struggling" — Woman Highlights the Financial Struggles of Gen Z in Supporting Themselves

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Jan. 10 2024, Published 5:16 p.m. ET

TikToker @chailynt pointed out that most Gen Zers aren't financially independent because the current wages are too low for them to support themselves.
Source: TikTok / @chailynt

It might be surprising to some, but research shows that Gen Zers are facing greater challenges than their counterparts from other generations at their age. A September 2023 conducted by Gallup and the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) indicated that fewer than half of Gen Z Americans are living their best lives, thanks to some serious stress about being financially ready for the future.

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Fast forward to Jan. 6, 2024, when TikTok creator Chailyn (@chailynt) dropped some truth bombs. She called out those who label Gen Z as "lazy" and asserted that working a 40-hour week doesn't magically make entry-level professionals financially independent. Why? Because the current wages are way too low for Gen Z to support themselves.

A woman stresses while looking at her bills.
Source: Getty Images
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A woman pointed out that the current wages are insufficient for Gen Z to support themselves.

Chailyn voiced her frustration regarding the media's criticism of Gen Z, branding them as lazy for not adhering to the traditional 9-to-5 work model. She passionately delved into the issue, highlighting that despite committing five days and 40 hours per week to her job, her income is insufficient for living on her own.

"I would not make enough to pay rent, water, electric, and eat, all by myself. I would not be capable of doing that," she explained, stressing the contrast with previous generations who could manage these expenses when starting out.

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"Twenty years ago, when you were getting started, you could live on your own," Chailyn said. "Twenty years ago, when you first started, you were able to do everything that I am now struggling to do."

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Directly addressing the harsh critics of her generation, Chailyn disclosed, "You've been working for 20 years. You have 20 years of working experience behind your belt. You have 20 years of experience in a career that has allowed you to gain raises, to get more money to profit you in an economy that you created."

"You could sit here, and you can call Gen Z lazy all you want, but I've been working my tail end off, just to barely make it by. And respectfully, I don't want to do that for the rest of my life," she expressed. "I don't want to work my tail end off, wasting all of my life working just to barely be able to pay my bills."

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In the end, Chailyn argued that this situation is something the older generations created, not Gen Z. She pointed out that folks can deem Gen Z as lazy, but the responsibility lies with those who allowed the economy to deteriorate. They let it fall apart, and now Gen Z is blamed for not wanting to exhaust themselves fixing the mistakes of the past.

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Chailyn's video gained widespread attention, resonating with many people.

The viral video has amassed over 4.7 million views and counting. The clip also garnered more than 31,000 comments from many fellow TikTokers who agreed that achieving financial independence is a significant challenge.

"The older generation thinks working your life away is working hard," one person wrote in the comment section. "That may have been enough for them, but I want [to] take advantage of the life I have."

A second TikTok user simply said, "I don't just want to survive, I want to live."

"Millennial here; I don't blame Gen Z," a third TikToker commented. "I don't want to work 9-5 either, it's awful. Who wants to live their whole life at work?"

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Another person sadly shared, "There will be no such thing as retirement for us."

"It's either make the big bucks instantly or live at home forever," someone else pointed out. "It's our fault though? If we did move out, we would have to retire at 98. Oh wait—"

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On X (formerly known as Twitter), where the video also gained traction, opinions were quite divided. Some (mainly Baby Boomers) argued that Chailyn should accept the realities of the real world and work harder, while others rallied behind her, sharing similar sentiments about the challenges of the current work environment.

"She is 100 percent spot on," one X user penned. "PEOPLE LIVE IN A BUBBLE!!"

Another person tweeted, "She's not wrong... no one wants to spend their entire life making ends meet."

"Boomers are the most privileged and spoiled generation to ever exist in history. Every subsequent generation could work 10x harder and wouldn’t achieve 10 percent of what they were gifted on silver platters. That they’re too dumb to comprehend this is the proof," a third X user responded.

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