6 college students shared their biggest financial worries during COVID-19

I don’t have much in my savings account. I’m 21 years old, freshly graduated and a string of service jobs and editing gigs at the student newspaper didn’t leave me with much cash to my name.

Sometimes, especially with the uncertain times we’re living in, I find myself swimming in what feels like a whirlpool of anxiety: Am I saving enough? Am I spending too much money on groceries? Will I be able to support myself in the future? Will my accounts be cleared out after I pay rent this month?

The other day, I wanted to know if I was the only one my age that stressed this much about money. So, in the name of research (and maybe just to help myself feel better), I asked a few college students about their biggest financial concerns. Here’s what they said:

Chapel, 22: “I’m probably just worried about being taken advantage of, somehow or some way. I feel pretty good about managing my spending habits, but when it comes to other stuff — credit cards, loans, where I’m working with someone else — I’m worried my lack of experience could lead to me getting screwed over.”

Hannah, 20: “My biggest financial concern at this current time is having to pay rent. With no steady income coming in due to the coronavirus, $650 per month is a lot along with groceries and utilities.”

Carly, 22: “I’m worried about not having enough in savings to cover emergencies, like car trouble or medical bills.”

Brian, 21: “I’ve only been able to support myself in college through a very large but also very finite amount of money given to me by family members. I’m worried that I will be screwed once that runs out, and I’m not being paid much by wherever I’m currently working.”

Mac, 18: ”I’m scared of doing or acting in something, and not knowing the terms of it. Like getting a mortgage, but not knowing what I got into.”

Kathryn, 21: “I worry about my family’s business being at risk of going under.”

I was somehow both surprised and not surprised to learn that I wasn’t the only one with serious financial worries. Though we’re often trivialized or patronized by older generations, I think young people today are smart, observant and fiscally conscious — maybe because we grew up amidst the effects of the 2008 Recession, or watched older generations struggle to pay debt or retire.

At Zogo, we’ve talked to hundreds of young people about personal finance, listening to the stories of all the mistakes they’ve made: accumulating heaps of credit card debt, failing to invest an inheritance, buying a car with a 22 percent interest rate. It’s a long list of financial lessons learned the hard way.

I don’t want that for myself or for any of the students I talked to, and I can’t think of a credit union that would want that for its members.

Even though they’re just kicking off their adult lives, Gen Zers already have their fair share of financial worries. What is your credit union doing to earn their trust?

Visit www.zogofinance.com to see how 25 credit unions are using Zogo to connect with the new generation of members.

Hannah Lang

Hannah Lang

Hannah Lang is a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and a marketing coordinator at Zogo, where she writes about credit unions, personal finance and Gen Z. Web: zogofinance.com Details