Celebrities, Recent Graduates Weigh in on Personal Finances

Woman drinking coffee and using mobile phone

As young Americans reach adulthood, there is a constant flow of new consumers learning about their personal finances. With this comes unique approaches to financial literacy and a host of new opinions joining the financial marketplace.

Generation Z—the youngest generation and newest group of consumers to embark on their personal finance journey—is a perfect example. The members of this generation, the oldest of whom turn 24 this year, are eager for independence and personal development—and they're coming up with innovative new ways to learn.

To better understand how these consumers feel about their finances, Experian surveyed 2,000 recent college graduates across the U.S. in June of 2021. We also reached out to a few celebrities, influencers and financial educators to hear about their personal finance experiences, and to find out what they wished they knew as they left home and went out on their own.

Young Adult Consumers Turn to Internet, Social Media for Education

Born at a time when the U.S. was transitioning to an increasingly online economy, it's no surprise that Generation Z is learning about personal finance via social media and the internet. Though family members were the most popular source of financial education for those surveyed (39%), a third (33%) said they sought out financial advice using the internet, and 31% said they did so through social media, according to our survey. (Respondents could choose more than one answer.)

Most College Grads Feel Optimistic About Their Finances

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, recent college graduates are optimistic about their future and finances. When asked how they feel about their future generally, 74% of survey respondents said they felt optimistic and hopeful. When asked specifically about their finances, a smaller yet still significant portion of respondents—64%—reported feeling equally positive.

In our current economic climate, sentiments like these are promising. Digging deeper with this group of consumers, it was clear that most felt positive about the future, although money was still a concern. More than half of respondents—51%—said that having enough money to support their lifestyle impacted how they thought about their future.

When asked what "firsts" (first experiences) they are looking forward to most post-college, 43% reported being most excited about getting an "adult" job. Another 40% of those asked said they looked forward to "feeling independent."

Many respondents seemed to have aspirations of putting their finances first as they embarked on their careers. Nearly half—44%—said they would use their paycheck from their first job for saving. Another 35% said they planned to use their earnings for investing—a sign that these recent grads have financial security in mind.

Celebs and Influencers on What They Wish They'd Known About Money

To add context to our survey results, Experian reached out to several celebrities and influencers to see what was important to them when they graduated from college and what they wished they knew as they ventured out on their own.

Mario Lopez, Actor/Host

What was your most important "first" that you looked forward to when you first went out on your own or graduated from college?

Mario Lopez: First "adult" apartment/house

What do you wish you knew about finances when you left your parents' home and went out on your own?

Mario Lopez: "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."

Diggy Simmons, Actor/Recording Artist

What was your most important "first" that you looked forward to when you first went out on your own or graduated from college?

Diggy Simmons: First "adult" job

What do you wish you knew about finances when you left your parents' home and went out on your own?

Diggy Simmons: "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."

Taylor Price, Financial Educator/Activist

What was your most important "first" that you looked forward to when you first went out on your own or graduated from college?

Taylor Price: Feeling independent

What do you wish you knew about finances when you left your parents' home and went out on your own?

Taylor Price: "I wish I knew the true value of a dollar, how much work it takes to make that dollar, and how to grow that dollar into a passive money tree. I wish the conversation of passive/active happened earlier in life."

Teala Dunn, Actress

What was your most important "first" that you looked forward to when you first went out on your own or graduated from college?

Teala Dunn: First "adult" apartment/house

What do you wish you knew about finances when you left your parents' home and went out on your own?

Teala Dunn: "I really wish I knew more about utility bills, gas, water and power, and that they are all separate bills."

Sara Finance, Financial Social Media Influencer

What was your most important "first" that you looked forward to when you first went out on your own or graduated from college?

Sara Finance: Feeling independent

What do you wish you knew about finances when you left your parents' home and went out on your own?

Sara Finance: "I wish I knew about the importance of having an emergency fund. Ideally, having savings to cover six months of expenses is a must, especially because no job income is guaranteed."

Isabella Gomez, Actress

What was your most important "first" that you looked forward to when you first went out on your own or graduated from college?

Isabella Gomez: Feeling independent

What do you wish you knew about finances when you left your parents' home and went out on your own?

Isabella Gomez: "I wish I had learned more about hidden costs and all the unexpected expenses that come with being an adult, like living on your own. Saving for that is important!"

The Bottom Line

The common trend among celebrities—which was also apparent among recent college graduates—was the strong desire for independence and "adult" jobs and homes.

As for what they wish they knew when they left home, most celebrities answered that they wish they had more financial education of some kind, whether it was how to budget, why an emergency fund is important or how to manage multiple bills.

Regardless of whether you're a recent graduate or far past your college days, it's never a bad time to focus on your personal finances. If you aren't sure where your finances stand and want to understand more about your debt and credit levels, consider enrolling in Experian's free credit monitoring service to see what's in your credit report, get alerts when your credit file changes and get your free credit score powered by Experian data.

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