Class of 2021 Reveal Most Anticipated Money Milestones and Adulthood “Firsts”

Popular celebrities weigh-in with advice for young adults based on graduates’ responses to a national survey by Experian

Experian announces the additional findings of a national survey among college graduates, which explored young adults’ biggest challenges over the past year and their future outlooks, especially as it relates to finances. While many college grads struggled through the pandemic, they are looking forward to engaging in new experiences and make big purchases as working adults. Experian also polled a range of celebrities on the key pieces of advice they would give to new graduates as they navigate the post-college world.

College grads excited about the next life phase, despite pandemic woes

After a difficult and tumultuous year of disrupted learning and financial challenges in the face of a global pandemic, college graduates have maintained a strong sense of optimism through it all and, across the board, are eager to begin the next phase of adult life. With fresh diplomas in-hand, this GenZ cohort surveyed are most looking forward to their first ‘adult’ job (43%), while others are eagerly anticipating the feeling of being independent (40%). Additional experiences that ranked high on the list among survey respondents are meeting new people (39%), getting their first ‘adult’ apartment/house (38%) and entering a serious romantic relationship (30%).

With many college grads anticipating their first major jobs, they already have big plans for their money. How will they manage it?
• 40 percent of survey respondents plan to save their money before spending their first paycheck on anything else
• 35 percent of those surveyed anticipate investing
• More than a third (31%) of grads surveyed expect a house to be their first big purchase after graduation
• Almost one out of four (22%) survey respondents are planning to buy a car

Admired celebs offer words of wisdom

Experian reached out to several popular personalities including actor/host Mario Lopez, actor/recording artist Diggy Simmons, actress Isabella Gomez, financial educator and activist Taylor Price, actress Teala Dunn, and financial social media influencer Sarah Finance to hear their advice for young adults grappling with the move from adolescence to adulthood.

When asked about the top takeaways they would give to a new graduate, their advice ranged from financial planning to philosophical lessons:
Taylor Price said, “Organization is key to success and a failure to plan is a plan for failure. If you don't have a plan, it’s hard to achieve your larger goals.”
Sarah Finance weighed in on the importance of money management. “The most overlooked part of our lives is our finances,” she said. “Live a modest life until you've paid off your debts, then start saving for your future endeavors - whether you want to buy a home or car. And never live above your means.”
• On a personal level, Diggy Simmons stressed the importance of relationships and encouraged GenZ graduates to, “understand the importance of developing deep and meaningful relationships with your family, friends, and co-workers.”
Isabella Gomez wanted to remind graduates to avoid too much comparison. “Don’t try to keep up with what you “should” be doing or compare yourself to your friends and their journeys,” she said. “This is your life, and you’re allowed to go at your own pace and choose how you want to live.”
Teala Dunn shared this advice, “Life is like a camera, focus on what is important, take in all of the good times and develop from the negatives – if it doesn’t work out, take another shot.”
• On a final note, Mario Lopez offered encouragement and realism to GenZ. “Work hard, stay focused, and do the right thing, then the right things will happen for you,” he said. “Also, have guarded optimism and know that everything could be gone tomorrow.”

Making money moves

As they start imagining how to spend their money, recent graduates are also actively seeking advice on how to properly manage their finances. The top places grads surveyed look to for money advice are family members (39%), followed by a web search (33%) and social media (31%). To improve their understanding of money, almost one in three (30%) respondents report wishing they had learned how to build credit or improve their credit scores before graduating.

Celebrities and influencers have similar thoughts on what knowledge they lacked when they went out on their own. “I wish I knew how to budget accordingly,” said Mario Lopez. “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.” Diggy Simmons agreed, “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.” Sarah Finance recalled wishing had been better prepared for the unexpected. “I wish I knew about the importance of having an emergency fund,” she said.

As we look towards a post-pandemic future, it is essential for young adults to start off on the right financial path, learn about credit and understand how to maintain a good credit score to be financially healthy. Experian makes it easy to manage finances and raise credit scores with free tools such as Experian Boost™ , which allows users to add positive payment histories for expenses like utilities, cell phone bills, and even video streaming subscriptions to their Experian credit file to potentially improve their credit score.

Experian is committed to educating consumers about credit and finance offering many other free resources. Consumers are encouraged to join Experian’s weekly #creditchat hosted by @Experian on Twitter with financial experts every Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern time, or visit the Ask Experian blog for answers to common questions about credit. Educational content is available at For more survey findings, go to

About Experian
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