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Future Finance Unveiled: Decoding the 3 Key Emerging 18-30s UK Financial Archetypes

The cost of living crisis has created fundamental shifts among young people in the financial consumer marketplace.

Old habits, established patterns, and entrenched financial behaviours that served as guideposts for brands and financial service providers when it came to understanding their customers’ needs have now fallen by the wayside.

Any businesses looking to succeed in the current financial consumer financial landscape now need to readjust, realign, and get to know the new ways of operating.

Young people have had to adapt where it comes to their personal finances – and brands and businesses now need to follow suit.

personal finance, UK finance, consumer finance, market insights, consumer insights, quantitative research, qualitative research, AI research, financial insights, gen-z, millennials

Cost of Living: Thrift, Thrive, or Survive?

Many young people have been forced into survival mode. Debt and borrowing have been on the increase, and credit card use spiked. Non-essential and recreational spending has had to be reigned in, and strict monthly budgets created.

Banking habits have shifted as well. Digitally optimised neobanks such as Monzo and Revolut, with their feature-laden apps for tracking and monitoring spending and savings have been gaining consistent uptake and loyalty among 18-30s.

But not everyone is struggling. Because for a few young people in the UK, adversity actually presents opportunity…

Finance is seen as a skill to learned, and mastered. Debt can be made to work for them – not against them. And personal finance management can be a tool to help establish financial freedom.

One thing is clear – when it comes to personal finance, not all young people are approaching the cost of living situation in the UK the same.

Financial Archetypes: The Key to Unlocking 18-30s Financial Behaviour

To understand the key behavioural shifts taking place in the UK financial landscape, we surveyed and connected with hundreds of young people in the UK.

We interviewed and chatted with them directly to discuss their financial situations, habits, and strategies when it came to navigating the cost of living crisis, and how they manage their finances, their debt, and banking.

And after slicing and cross-tabulating all their answers with their lifestyle, banking habits, and financial attitudes, it soon became clear that there are three core emerging financial archetypes that currently typify young people in the UK when it comes to financial behaviour and identity.

Understanding these archetypes will be key for brands and financial service providers looking to navigate the emerging financial consumer landscape in the UK, both now and going forward.

So let’s get into it, and explore the three key emerging financial archetypes among young people in the UK – as they try to either save, thrive, or survive their way through the cost of living crisis…

Thrifty Savers

Emily: Cautious, Thrifty, Saving for a rainy summer…

First up – is Emily. Emily belongs to the group of young adults who prioritize financial security and prudent money management. These Thrifty Savers actively avoid unnecessary debt and are mostly debt-free.

Debt & Financial Habits:

By cutting back on non-essential expenses, they maintain a frugal lifestyle and allocate a portion of their income to emergency savings and investments.

Emily’s financial knowledge is above average, as she actively seeks out information on money management and investment strategies. She is cautious about taking on debt and ensure she pays off her credit card bills in full each month.

Banking Habits & Choices:

Emily prefers using traditional banks for savings and investments, valuing the stability and security they offer. While she may not be as tech-savvy as other personas, she appreciates the reliability and established reputation of traditional banking institutions.

Thrifty Savers might have a basic checking and savings account with their primary bank, occasionally using additional financial tools like certificates of deposit (CDs) or low-risk investment products.

2. Struggling Survivors

Alex: Struggling, budgeting, working to find a way out…

personal finance, UK finance, consumer finance, market insights, consumer insights, quantitative research, qualitative research, AI research, financial insights, gen-z, millennials

Alex represents the young adults who have been significantly impacted by economic instability and rising living costs- the Struggling Survivors. Struggling to find stable employment, he has turned to credit cards and personal loans to cover basic living expenses, leading to substantial debt.

Debt & Financial Habits:

Alex is aware of his financial difficulties and actively seeks advice and support from online communities to manage his debt better. He is still learning about financial literacy and money management, seeking ways to improve his situation.

Banking Habits & Choices:

Struggling Survivors are open to using neobanks like Monzo because of their user-friendly interfaces and potential benefits for budgeting. Neobanks might appeal to them due to their modern and accessible features, which can help manage limited finances effectively.

Alex is likely to use neobank apps to track his spending and set budget limits to avoid overspending. He might also find the customer support and online resources of neobankshelpful for his financial situation.

3. Enterprising Optimists

Max: Making money work for him, capitalising on opportunity.

personal finance, UK finance, consumer finance, market insights, consumer insights, quantitative research, qualitative research, AI research, financial insights, gen-z, millennials

Max is an ambitious and entrepreneurial young adult who has managed to thrive during economic instability by identifying new business opportunities.

Debt & Financial Habits:

With a high disposable income, Max isn’t significantly burdened by rising living costs. Comfortable using credit cards for big-ticket purchases and business expenses, he’s confident in managing debt efficiently. He might also strategically leverage debt for investment ventures or business expansion.

Banking Habits & Choices:

Max is an early adopter of neobanks like  Monzo, recognizing the benefits of digital banking solutions that cater to his dynamic lifestyle. Neobanks offer advanced financial management features that align with his  enterprising mindset. He likes the convenience and speed of neobank transactions, particularly for international payments and business-related transactions.

Enterprising optimists are also likely to explore investment options provided by neobanks to optimize their financial growth and diversify their portfolio. They stay updated with the latest financial trends and investment opportunities through digital channels.

personal finance, UK finance, consumer finance, market insights, consumer insights, quantitative research, qualitative research, AI research, financial insights, gen-z, millennials


With the cost of living crisis fast tracking fundamental shifts in Gen-Z and Millennial financial behaviours, priorities and habits, it’s key that financial brands and businesses understand these changes and the emerging financial archetypes among young people in the UK.

The brands that can adapt their products and services to better meet the evolving and disparate needs and wants of the emerging personas will be the ones that continue to thrive and grow during turbulent times, capitalising on the shifts brought about by the economic situation to meet the needs of their customers head on.

Listening and responding to the word of mouth insights from young people on the ground in the UK will help any business operating in the financial space to stay agile, relevant, and of ongoing value.

Interested in running your own study? Get in touch to discover how Bolt’s digital insight solutions and AI-powered qualitative research can help you gain the market intelligence needed to help supercharge your growth, next product launch, or upcoming campaign.

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