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Principal® Foundation Launches National Short Story Contest as Part of New Initiative to Destigmatize Conversations About Money

Nearly 50% of Millennials and Gen Z Feel It's Inappropriate or Awkward to Talk About Money; Majority Underutilize Financial Tools that Help Build Financial Security

Principal® Foundation Launches National Short Story Contest as Part of New Initiative to Destigmatize Conversations About Money

Nearly 50% of Millennials and Gen Z Feel It's Inappropriate or Awkward to Talk About Money; Majority Underutilize Financial Tools that Help Build Financial Security

Published 08-11-23

Submitted by Principal Financial Group, Inc.

Principal Foundation: A Story Initiative. Illustrated city scene shown.

DES MOINES, Iowa, August 11, 2023 /CSRwire/ - Principal® Foundation, a global nonprofit committed to helping people and communities build financially secure futures, is launching Money Chronicles: A Story Initiative that is using the power of storytelling to help destigmatize and encourage conversations about money and personal finances. The initiative is kicking off with a national short story contest that invites people to share imaginative and meaningful short stories that reflect lived experiences with money.

The contest is hosted in collaboration with The Center for Fiction, a national literary nonprofit, and Short Édition, a global publishing house. Stories can be submitted online until August 31, 2023, 11:59 pm PDT at The initiative will also make the finalist stories accessible to the public by installing Short Story Dispensers™ in libraries, bookstores and cafes in New York, N.Y., Los Angeles, Calif., Seattle, Wash., Charlotte, N.C., and Iowa City, Iowa. Visitors simply press a button on the dispenser to print a short story to enjoy.

"People develop narratives around money and personal finance based on familial experience and those narratives tend to impact their relationship to money and inform their financial decisions throughout their lives," said Jo Christine Miles, director, Principal Foundation and Community Relations, Principal®. "This contest is a way to inspire people, through the universal, human art of storytelling, to reimagine their narrative, resolve any struggles and, ultimately feel more comfortable having more robust financial conversations that advance their financial goals."

Conversations about money are typically driven by people's perceptions of their own personal finances and experiences growing up. A new survey of 3,000 Millennial and Gen Z Americans conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Principal Foundation, reveals that like social media, conversations about money are usually only showing one aspect of personal finance, avoiding more comprehensive and candid conversations.

Millennials and Gen Z are most comfortable sharing information related to salary or income. Less is being shared about topics, such as savings, debt, and investments.

  • 72% will talk about salary/income.
  • 60% will talk about savings or debt.
  • 54% will talk about mortgage or rent.
  • 49% will talk about investments.

Millennials and Gen Z have underlying fears of being judged about their money habits.

  • More than 40% fear being judged for their habits or earning level.
  • Nearly one-third do not want it to create social tension with friends or family.
  • 30% do not want to seem materialistic or like they are bragging.

Financial habits witnessed growing up can lead to anxiety and control issues around money later in life.

  • More than half of Millennials and Gen Z continue with the same financial habits they witnessed growing up.
  • 40% agree that the financial situation they grew up in has led to issues controlling their spending.
  • 52% agree the financial situation they grew up in led to worries about having enough money even when they are financially stable.

Millennials and Gen Z underutilize financial products such as retirement accounts, investment accounts, and protection products due to disinterest or reasons other than lack of funds.

  • Only 33% report having retirement savings or life insurance.
  • 38% report not having retirement savings due to disinterest or reasons other than lack of funds.
  • 50% report not having investment accounts due to disinterest or reasons other than lack of funds.

Women are more likely to share financial information with their partners than men.

  • 73% of women will share information about salary or income compared to 65% of men.
  • 60% of women will share information about debt compared to 54% of men.
  • 57% of women will share information about mortgage or rent compared to 47% of men.

By reading stories presenting diverse financial situations, views and approaches to personal finance, this story initiative is designed to encourage people to reconsider their own situations and habits, engage in more candid conversations with those they trust, and develop more robust plans to attain the financial security they seek.

Entering the contest is free, and 30 finalists will be selected by an esteemed panel of literary authors and experts including Mahogany L. Browne, Ava Chin, Novella Ford, Sidik Fofana, Xochitl Gonzalez, Alvin Hall, Erika L. Sánchez, Ashley Woodfolk, and Judy Zuckerman.

Finalists will receive $250 and have their stories distributed through Principal Foundation's network of story dispensers, which can be found at New York Public Library in New York, N.Y.; Sip & Sonder in Los Angeles, Calif.; Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in Charlotte, N.C.; and renowned independent bookstores in Seattle and Iowa City, the only UNESCO Cities of Literature in the United States, Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, Wash. and Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Iowa.

Stories from the finalists will also be considered for publication in Short Edition's global network of more than 300 story dispensers located in airports, public transportation hubs, retail centers, and other locations around the world.

Terms and conditions apply. Adults ages 18 and older are encouraged to submit original fiction or creative nonfiction stories through the contest website now through August 31, 2023, 11:59 pm PDT. Finalists will be announced in October. For more information about Money Chronicles: A Story Initiative Supported by Principal Foundation and details on how to enter, please visit

Principal Foundation logo

About Principal® Foundation 
Principal Financial Group Foundation, Inc. ("Principal Foundation") is a duly recognized 501(c)(3) entity focused on providing philanthropic support to programs that build financial security in the communities where Principal Financial Group, Inc. ("Principal") operates. While Principal Foundation receives funding from Principal, Principal Foundation is a distinct, independent, charitable entity. Principal Foundation does not practice any form of investment advisory services and is not authorized to do so. Established in 1987, Principal Foundation works with organizations that are helping to shape and support the journey to financial security by ensuring access to essential needs, fostering social and cultural connections, and promoting financial inclusion. Principal Foundation funds a growing network of more than 140 charitable organizations in 25 countries and territories. 3044907-082023

About Short Édition 
Short Édition is an international publishing house specializing in short fiction and creative non-fiction. With a vision to make literature accessible to all, Short Édition places a wide range of short stories – spanning fiction, poetry, comic strips, and children's stories – directly into the hands of readers worldwide. The company is renowned for creating the innovative Short Story Dispenser™, a simple yet impactful way to connect with readers, delivering printed stories at the touch of a button. Having proudly dispensed over 7 million short stories across five continents, authored by more than 10,000 independent writers, Short Édition continues to redefine the reading experience. To learn more, visit

About The Center for Fiction

The Center for Fiction is a literary nonprofit that brings diverse communities together to develop and share a passion for fiction. Founded in 1821 as the Mercantile Library of New York in Manhattan, the organization is now based in the heart of the Brooklyn cultural district, with a 18,000-square-foot facility that offers New Yorkers an immersive cultural experience centered on reading and writing. Throughout the year, The Center for Fiction provides a vast array of public programming, reading groups, and writing workshops. The First Novel Prize and Emerging Writer Fellowships help build literary careers, and KidsRead/KidsWrite programs inspire an early love of reading and writing in public school students with author-led events. In recent years, the organization's programming has expanded to include storytelling in all its forms, integrating music, theater, dance, film, television, and the visual arts into its exploration of the best of fiction throughout history and today.

Media Contact: Taylor Madigan,

SOURCE Principal Foundation 

Principal Financial Group, Inc. logo

Principal Financial Group, Inc.

Principal Financial Group, Inc.

Principal Financial Group® (Nasdaq: PFG) is a global financial company with 18,500 employees1 passionate about improving the wealth and well-being of people and businesses. In business for more than 140 years, we’re helping more than 51 million customers1 plan, protect, invest, and retire, while working to support the communities where we do business, and build a diverse, inclusive workforce. Principal® is proud to be recognized as one of America’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies2, a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, and a Top 10 “Best Places to Work in Money Management3.” Learn more about Principal and our commitment to building a better future at

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