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2021 Pandemic Grads Are Optimistic About Their Financial Futures Despite Challenging Year

Social and financial setbacks left their mark, but an Experian national survey reveals many young adults are looking forward to their post-grad lives

COSTA MESA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As college graduates start adulting and enter the workforce in the wake of a pandemic, a national consumer survey by Experian® recently examined their sentiments about finances and outlooks for the future. Although the findings reveal that some young adults struggled with financial stressors during the past year, many surveyed believe lessons learned during the pandemic will help them in the future.

The Impact of COVID-19 on College Graduates

Numerous financial factors impacted college grads, which colored their attitudes and shaped their decisions. Top influences that affected them included running out of emergency savings (34%), not having a high enough credit score to get a credit card or loan (30%), and seeing their parents struggling to make ends meet (29%). The leading sources of financial stress were paying monthly rent and bills (55%), paying for graduate school (43%), paying for an additional certification (41%) and having bad credit (39%).

To ease financial strain, about a third (31%) of those surveyed returned to their hometowns seeking more affordable rent and 30 percent moved in with their parents during the pandemic. To improve their finances in the next six months, the primary step students surveyed are taking is investing some of their money (40%).

Despite challenges, the outlook of most grads remains positive, with almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents feeling hopeful about the future and 66 percent believing they’ll have financial security in six years. What affects grads’ outlooks most is feeling financially secure (50%) and, equally, feeling confident in their major or degree.

“Graduates should feel proud that they successfully navigated the past year and remain optimistic about the road ahead, especially as it relates to money,” said Rod Griffin, senior director of Consumer Education and Advocacy for Experian. “Getting educated about finances and how credit works is one of the best ways to protect your financial health and prepare for the future. We encourage recent grads – and all consumers – to practice smart money management and credit habits so they can have more financial options in life.”

One actionable step all young adults can take is gaining greater control of their credit profile by understanding what is in their credit report and what affects credit scores. Experian is committed to helping young consumers start their financial journey on the right path offering many free resources including access to Experian credit reports, FICO® Scores and CreditMatch™, as well as to Experian Boost™. The free tool enables users to add positive payment history for utility and telecom bills as well as video streaming subscriptions into their Experian credit report, which can possibly improve their FICO® Scorei.

Despite Adversity, Gen Z Find New Financial Perspectives

Survey respondents feel that their immediate journey may be challenging with 81 percent feeling the pandemic makes it even more difficult to find a job. Men were more likely to agree with this statement at 87 percent compared to 77 percent of female graduates.

With challenges in mind, the good news is that 79 percent of those surveyed say they appreciate money management more, and 21 percent of respondents have even been able to invest the money they saved to further stabilize their finances. To improve their credit scores, many survey respondents are keeping tabs on their scores more often (46%) and paying off credit card debt (44%).

“These findings are encouraging. Paying down debts and monitoring your credit scores and reports is one of the best things consumers can do to protect their financial health,” added Griffin.

Experian is committed to educating consumers about credit and finance. 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

About Experian

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments — from buying a home or a car to sending a child to college to growing a business by connecting with new customers — we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 17,800 people operating across 44 countries, and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all our clients maximize every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Learn more at or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the Group.

i Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost.


Sandra Bernardo

949 529 7550


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