Fun fact: 84% of Gen Z rely on parents and family for financial education.
The positives: our elders can offer valuable financial wisdom.
The downsides: it’s easy to be like “I’m just a baby” and join the same bank as your parents without even questioning it.
The problem is, our parents grew up in a wildly different economic environment. Many of them bought their first house at, like, what - 17? With nothing but a few hundred dollars and a heart full of dreams 💖
However, as the first generation to grow up as digital natives, there is plenty of information available to us on platforms like TikTok. The hashtag #GenZFinance, for example, has 32.7m views.
TikTok is your mom now
But not all advice is worth following (some of it is actually really dumb and could lose you a lot of money - PSA: don’t just blindly buy stock because you see a line going up on a graph).
Just because the information is available, does not mean we should always follow it. We just wanna make that clear.
But there is some good stuff out there. A lot of it is pretty simple stuff, but sometimes you do just need to be sternly told to stop shopping at Target by a stranger on the internet. (Or Cleo)
So here’s what we think is the best of the best.
Car payments will literally kill your budget
Top of the hashtag with 387.0K likes is @moneytomiles, questioning why, when people get a promotion or raise at work, they think this immediately needs to be represented by a new car.
This sentiment is echoed all over videos related to the hashtag, with some backlash from car enthusiasts.
“At this point a car should really be getting your from point A to point B. In your 20s get a modest but reliable car and run it into the ground,” moneytomiles argues.
Other creators echoed this message: it doesn’t have to be a trash car, but it shouldn’t have to be brand new.
Don’t give in to peer pressure! Run that mediocre car into the ground.
Retail therapy is not the way ❌
Surprisingly, this was next on the list, from the same creator. This comes into a genre we like to call “I kind of knew that but just needed to be told firmly.”
“Target is cheaper than therapy,” the comment section pleaded.
“Stop going into stores for fun. Get a new hobby,” the creator pleaded back. Sorry to call you out rn.
Retail therapy is seriously addictive, so it’s important to find ways around this and resist the urge when it rises.
It can be as simple as asking yourself what you’re craving before a shopping spree: is it a self-esteem boost? Call a friend.
If there is something specific you need to buy, TikTok creator, @lovechloejane, suggested another way around this:
“With every purchase, imagine someone walking up to you in the street and offering you the value of the object in cash 💵”
At that moment, if you would take the cash over the object, you don’t really need it.
If you do need it, buy it online so you’re not distracted by other shiny items in the store.
Shameless plug: Cleo’s roast feature is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your more questionable spending habits.
Make a clear monthly budget 📓
You can’t kill your monthly budget if you don’t have one! 💅 (you can totally kill your personal finances though...Please don’t live like this).
Budgets are the first step to living within your means. As an AI budgeting app, we live for this shit 🥴
The best budgeting apps allow you to see your budget clearly, rather than carrying it all in your head. They often even have ~fun~ features that allow you to track payments and get the low down on your spending habits each month.
Once you’re living within your budget, it’s easier to start saving.
If you want to save, @smartwomensociety suggests working out how much you want to save monthly to reach your goal and setting this up as an automatic transfer into a savings account.
This leads us nicely to the next one…
Start saving 💰
This is not so much a tip but something that a lot of creators reminded us to be mindful of: the importance of building an emergency fund.
In fact, “how much money do you need in an emergency fund” is one of the most searched questions on Google.
Spoiler alert: most experts suggest your emergency fund be 3 to 6 months of expenses in cash.
So, if you need a goal for your savings, this is it.
And concrete goals are something that a lot of creators spoke about. If you see that money as having a purpose to fulfill, it’s easier not to spend it.
Once you have your emergency fund, you can move on to saving for bigger things, like the downpayment for a house 👀
Build credit 🔨
Soooo many creators emphasized the importance of building credit, and doing so as early as possible - but it’s never too late to start.
@Theonithelender suggested using credit to pay for gas and groceries, then paying it off in full at the end of every month.
It’s not always that easy to get a credit card, though. Shameless plug #2: Cleo’s builder subscription is a great way to unfuck your credit score, with no credit checks and no interest.
You can use it to build credit with everyday spending and keep track of your credit score.
Have a folder of all your documents in one place
This is a simple one, but still important. With 66.3K likes, obviously, a lot of people needed reminding.
A lot of personal finance takes place electronically, so it’s easy to just do a Nick from New Girl and shove your important documents in a box in your cupboard.
If you’re planning on buying a house, keep a folder with pay stubs, W2s, tax returns, your driver's license, and bank statements.
Even if you’re not planning on buying a house, this is still a good idea - anything that makes personal finance feel less overwhelming.
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So, to summarise:
🚗Car payments will kill your budget
❌Watch out for impulse spending
📓Make a clear budget
🔨Start building credit history asap
📍Have a folder of IRL important documents
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The next time you’re about to routinely sacrifice 4 hours of your youth to TikTok, check out some of the finance hashtags. Just watch out for BS.
Enjoy this post? Def give it a share or send it along to a friend. You never know, it could make a big difference. And of course, if you want to try the best money app in the world for free, just hit this link right here.
Big love. Cleo 💙