There is no shortage of literature demonstrating the disparities in financial literacy between economic classes in the United States. This one reason that poverty remains such a cyclical state of being. Families with a lack of financial resources are unable to pass financial literacy onto their children, who, in turn, fail to educate their own kids on the best ways to generate lasting wealth and prepare for retirement. In other words, wealthy families tend to stay wealthy, while impoverished families often remain impoverished.
Efforts to bridge the gap on financial literacy come in many forms. Some high schools require students to take a course or two in personal finances. But these classes often focus more on calculating taxes, balancing a checkbook, and building credit than they do on things like investment, insurance, and retirement planning. When it comes to retaining wealth and securing a future, students need to know more than the bare minimum. And on this front, very few high schools (or even colleges) are passing down the right kind of knowledge to young students.
Social media has long served as a relatively egalitarian way to pass along information to the masses. In the early days of the internet, accessing the World Wide Web was typically a privilege enjoyed by the wealthiest Americans. But those days are gone; Pew Research finds that around 81% of Americans now own a smartphone. And more importantly, the smartphone has quickly become the most likely means by which Americans aged 18-29 will access the internet.
This important trend has not gone unnoticed by financial industry leaders looking to bridge the troubling gap of financial literacy between the rich and the poor. Content creators on platforms like TikTok have taken advantage of the mass equitable appeal of these applications to educate staggeringly large numbers of younger Americans about the most important personal finance factors that often go unnoticed.
Curtis Ray is one such creator. With over 58,000 followers and 315,000 likes across his videos, the President of SunCor Financial, LLC uses the platform to speak to a wide audience about insurance, retirement planning, interest calculation, and more. For his younger viewers, his content presents a unique opportunity. Young adults who start investing their money wisely now can use compound interest to exponentially increase their wealth.
Ray puts it best himself when he explains that a small monetary investment at the age of eighteen will likely outperform a larger investment at a later age. Teenagers just starting to dip their toes into the workforce might feel like putting a $500 paycheck into a savings account is nothing more than a waste of time. But as Ray explains in some of his videos, this type of long-term investment ends up paying off an incredible amount later in life.
This isn’t just about one creator, either. Curtis Ray is one of many content generators on TikTok and other platforms who are taking the financial literacy information typically only available to few—and using this information to educate a whole new generation of investors eager to plan for their retirements.