June 24, 2024

How Earned Wage Access Can Improve Financial Wellness for Millennial and Gen Z Workers

By Ryan Ashton

By Ryan Ashton


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Financial hardships are a reality for many employees in the workforce today. For Millennials and Gen Z workers, faced with present-day challenges like mounting student debt, rising living costs, and economic uncertainties, these younger generations often find themselves navigating financial challenges more than other generations, leading to unexpected stress and instability. 

As a result, organizations are beginning to offer  innovative new benefits directly targeted at some of these challenges facing these generations today, including earned wage access (EWA). Giving employees access to their pay before the end of the traditional bi-weekly or monthly pay cycle offers numerous benefits that can significantly improve financial wellness for Millennial and Gen Z workers.

Immediate Access to Funds

At their core, EWA programs exist to offer employees access to a portion of their pay, right after a day of working. Whether hourly or salaried employees, on-demand pay benefits offer up a safety net for individuals that might need it – whether it’s an unexpected car repair, sudden bills or any other issue that requires some short-term liquidity.

At Instant, we offer a fee-free earned wage access solution, along with an electronic tips solution that allows hospitality employees to get their tips paid to them right after their shift, instead of having to carry home an envelope of cash. We also offer a paycard solution that organizations can use to pay employees their pay instead of distributing physical paper checks.

All of these solutions exist under one roof with the singular goal of helping employees get closer, quicker access to their pay, to address the following real-world challenges faced by Gen Z and Millennial employees.

Reducing Financial Stress

Financial stress can have severe implications on mental and physical health, impacting job performance and overall well-being. Millennials and Gen Z workers, in particular, report high levels of stress related to financial issues. By offering EWA, employers can alleviate this stress, providing their employees with peace of mind knowing they can access their earnings when needed. This reduction in financial stress can lead to improved mental health, increased productivity, and higher job satisfaction.

Promoting Better Budgeting and Spending Habits

Earned wage access encourages employees to engage more actively with their finances. By providing more frequent access to earnings, workers are prompted to monitor their spending and manage their budgets more closely. This can foster better financial habits, as employees become more aware of their income and expenses on a regular basis. For Millennials and Gen Z, who are still developing their financial management skills, this can be a valuable tool in learning how to handle money responsibly.

Avoiding Predatory Debt Traps

High-interest payday loans and credit card debt can create a vicious cycle of financial instability. Younger workers, who may not yet have substantial savings or financial cushions, are particularly vulnerable to falling into these traps, which are often disguised as a safe solution. EWA offers a safer alternative by providing access to funds that employees have already earned, without the exorbitant interest rates and predatory fees associated with payday loans. This can help Millennial and Gen Z workers avoid accumulating debt and maintain better financial health.

Enhancing Financial Literacy

Access to EWA can also serve as an educational opportunity. Many EWA providers offer tools and resources to help employees better understand and manage their finances. By using these tools, younger workers can improve their financial literacy, learn how to budget effectively, save for the future, and make informed financial decisions. Enhanced financial literacy can lead to long-term financial wellness, empowering employees to take control of their financial futures.

Increasing Employee Engagement and Retention

Offering EWA can also benefit employers by increasing employee engagement and retention. When employees feel financially secure, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and loyal to their employers. This is particularly true for Millennials and Gen Z, who value workplace benefits that support their overall well-being. By providing EWA, employers demonstrate a commitment to their employees’ financial health, which can boost morale, reduce turnover, and attract top talent.


Earned Wage Access is a powerful tool that can significantly improve the financial wellness of Millennial and Gen Z workers. By providing immediate access to funds, reducing financial stress, promoting better budgeting habits, avoiding debt, enhancing financial literacy, and increasing employee engagement, EWA addresses many of the unique financial challenges faced by younger generations. As more employers recognize the benefits of EWA, it is poised to become a standard offering in modern workplaces, contributing to the overall financial health and well-being of the workforce.

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