Perhaps Colleges Should Listen to the Kids

Alright, I fully admit that headline was a ploy to get folks interested in this article. Given what’s currently taking place on college campuses, including those of some of this country’s most prestigious universities, it can be argued that administrators and students alike have made egregious missteps.

This isn’t the forum for that debate and I’m not a political commentator. With those clarifications out of the way, the big reveal here – one that’s encouraging for advisors as it relates to Gen Z – is that many college students (they’re Gen Z) want more financial education.

Add to that, many Gen Zers believe their respective schools aren’t doing enough (or anything) to provide them with adequate financial education. Indeed, solid financial foundations should start on the home front, but given the combination of consistently escalating college costs as well as some “interesting” course selections when it comes to electives, institutions of higher education should listen to their customers and bolster financial literacy.

The good news for advisors is twofold. First, it’s clearly not on advisors to deal with college curriculum. Second, and more importantly, demands among younger demographics for more financial education lends itself to those kids becoming interested in working with advisors as they enter the workforce and attempt to build wealth.

Positive Signs for Advisors, Call to Action for Schools

A recent WalletHub survey confirms that universities need to rethink offered electives and increase financial literacy offerings. After all, nearly half of those polled believe their schools aren’t doing enough when it comes to personal finance education. That needs to change because many Gen Zers are wracked with financial fears.

“The top post-graduation fear among students is not finding a job (39%), followed by student loan debt (35%) and credit card debt (13%),” according to WalletHub.

To be fair to colleges, Gen Z holds some views on finances that a literacy course probably won’t ameliorate. In some cases, these issues will carry over into post-college life, confirming the importance of advisors in the lives of Gen Zers.

“75% of students say they feel pressured by their peers to spend beyond their means,” adds WalletHub. “54% of students say a parent’s debt has negatively impacted them.”

As advisors know, many financial behaviors displayed by people, regardless of age, are something they learned from their parents and as for the “keeping up with the Joneses” part of the equation, advisors know that can be potentially perilous to numerous clients.

Murky Financial Future for Gen Z

As things stand today, Gen Zers graduating college over the near-term are likely to be heavily indebted (student loans) and face challenging prospects for finding desirable employment. The latter could change in the months ahead. Hopefully, it does.

Regarding when colleges will improve financial education offerings, that’s another ballgame and it could take awhile for broad-based momentum on that front.

That highlights the need for advisors. Even though many advisors probably don’t count college kids as part of their clients bases today, their parents are clients and advisors can provide parents with the tools needed to make up for the financial education shortfalls of colleges.

Related: The Need for Advisors Is Getting Stronger