One-Third of Recent College Grads Turn to the Internet for Money Advice
It’s often said that those graduating college or other higher education institutions are entering the “real world.” Of course, in the past couple of years, that “real world” has been far from normal. Nevertheless, a new survey of recent college graduates conducted by Experian found that Gen Zers were actually fairly upbeat about their futures and their ability to navigate their personal finances.
First, Experian asked where graduates turned to for financial advice. The most popular response was “family,” which was cited by 39% of respondents. However, the Internet and social media were not far behind, with 33% and 31% respectively (note: those surveyed could provide more than one answer to this prompt). Despite having these resources, 30% of respondents stated that they wished they’d learned more about personal finance — including how to build and improve credit — before graduating.
Turning to the future, the majority of recent college graduates were optimistic. Speaking about the future generally, 74% of respondents said they were hopeful. Although that dropped to 64% when asked specially about financial future, the positive response was still significant. Elsewhere, 51% of grads said that having enough money to support their lifestyle impacted the way they thought about their future. It seems that many young adults are also looking to establish financial security, with 40% stating that they intend to save money from their first paycheck before spending any of it. Similarly, 35% plan to begin investing as their funds roll in.
Continuing the theme of financial future, a number of graduates had some milestone purchases in mind. Of those surveyed, 31% expected that buying a home would mark their first major purchase after graduating. Meanwhile, 22% of respondents reported that they’re planning on buying a vehicle.
Experian’s survey also included insights from celebrities sharing their post-graduate financial experiences. For example, former Saved by the Bell star Mario Lopez lamented a lack of financial savvy in his youth, explaining, “I wish I knew how to budget accordingly. When you’re young, you feel like you have time on your side. That time should be used in having your money work for you. They say that youth is wasted on the young, but so is money.” Additionally, actor and recording artist Diggy Simmons stated. “I wish I had a better understanding of how money works and the importance of having great credit. Since then, I have learned how important it is to pay your bills on time and build your credit.”
Overall, it’s encouraging to hear that a number of recent graduates are at least aware of what good financial habits look like — even if not all respondents end up sticking to their well-intentioned plans. It’s also notable that so many young adults are turning to the likes of social media for money advice. While that might frighten some who worry about the quality of advice these graduates might find, there’s something to be said about them seeking financial literacy resources in the first place.
Also published on Medium.