The youngest generation of American adults has set specific goals for the next five to 10 years and many are confident that they will achieve those goals. But when it comes to managing their finances, Gen Zers are not the savviest, according to a study by Northwestern Mutual.

More than half  (57%) indicated not knowing how much money they have in savings, a significant increase from the general public (46%). And nearly seven in 10 (69%) say they don’t have great clarity on how much they can spend now versus how much they should be saving for later.

But Gen Zers, born between 1997 and 2012, are driven to achieve goals. Eighty-one percent compared to 71% of the general population indicated they have specific goals and 78% believe that someday they will get to where they want to be in life, which outranks the general public (67%), and is higher than their millennial counterparts (75%), who were born between 1981 and 1996.

The 10th annual Northwestern Mutual's 2019 Planning & Progress Study explores U.S. adults’ attitudes and behaviors toward money, financial decision-making, and the broader issues impacting people’s long-term financial security. The study was conducted by The Harris Poll among 2,003 American adults aged 18 or older in the general population and an oversample of U.S. adults age 18-22 who participated in an online survey between Feb. 20 and March 5.

Members of the Gen Z group define success as “enjoying your career.” The report noted that it’s the only generation to put an enjoyable career ahead of attributes including “spending quality time with family,” which ranked highest for millennials and matures, and “being healthy,” which was top for Gen X, born between 1965 and 1980, and boomers, born between 1946 and 1964.

Gen Z also ranked  “spending quality time with family” (40%) and “being healthy” (43%) in their top five choices.  

Additionally, when asked to list the three things that would improve their lives the most, they ranked, having more money (50%) as their top choice; being more self-confident or self-reliant was second with 27%; and doing work that you enjoy followed with 24 percent.

Emily Holbrook, senior director of planning at Northwestern Mutual, said,  “There’s nuance in these numbers that we find interesting.” “Given the age of Gen Zers and where they are professionally, it’s not particularly surprising that more money would have the most immediate impact,” she said.

“But the other two choices are revealing. The desire for more self-confidence and self-reliance illustrates the depth of their uncertainty even if their instincts and motivations appear to be in the right place. This is a generation that’s looking for more than a paycheck--they’re looking for meaning at work,” she added.