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Is The “Money Will Come Back” Trend On TikTok Positive Thinking Or A Bit Tone Deaf?

money will come back

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer intern
Olivia Charlson. Find her on Instagram at @olivialee2000. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

I love seeing travel advice and inspiration on my Instagram and TikTok pages. It feels good to see the different ways to explore the world. However, a new TikTok trend has left me feeling a bit uncertain about seeing so many travel videos. I’m talking about the summer TikTok videos where people are showing off their vacations or other purchases with the caption “the money will come back.” This kind of video is promoting the idea to live in the now — which feels good, right? However, I’m the kind of person who sees them and just feels pressured. The truth is, for a lot of people, the money won’t necessarily come back and the travel we all dream of can’t happen right now. So, let’s break down this trend. Should we be pushing to do the most while we still can or acknowledge that what’s best for us may look different?

What is the “money will come back” trend?

Typically this trend consists of a video with a caption like “the money will come back but I’ll never be in my 20s on a vacation with my partner again.” It’s typically with the song “Somewhere Only We Know.” On my For You Page, it’s been primarily people on vacation. Still, it’s all over TikTok encouraging people to spend their money this summer because “money comes back but time doesn’t.” I’ve seen a lot of videos with people driving expensive cars and saying they’re somewhere between 17 and 23 years old as well. Basically, it’s a sort of “treating yourself” ideology accompanied by very pretty travel spots or fantasies of nice things.

It’s a reminder to not be afraid of not having a lot of money

As someone who is constantly talking and thinking about money, it is nice to have a reminder that spending money is ok and allows you to do the things you want to. TikTok can be a place to get sucked into mindless videos, but social media has helped me plan my own vacations. The message of living your life to the fullest is a good one —  especially when our generation is saddled with having to use so many screens and be inside for our work and livelihood. Some videos are better than others, with the advice being it’s good to be adventuresome.

There’s still classism at play though

I find this trend in particular interesting because, to me, it showcases a lot of the ideologies that are weighing us down. For starters, the money will not come back for some people! I’ve seen comment sections where the creators will say this based on their situation and they are aware this isn’t possible for some people. It’s a very strange feeling to see story-times of people who are at serving jobs, being screwed over by the corporations they work for or are just struggling for one reason or another and then to scroll one more time and see this trend. It’s almost as if it should say “the money will come back for me.” It feels exhausting to stop and acknowledge our privilege with every post we make, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be self-aware.

We all have to slow down and not compare ourselves

Another thing that bothers me may seem like a less obvious problem but one Generation Z can’t seem to let go of nonetheless. All through these videos, it’s “I’ll never be in my 20s again.” Some videos are even showing people younger than me going to Paris, backpacking through a country and traveling to places I’ve never heard of before. We all seem to have a bit of Gerascophobia: the fear of aging. It seems like there’s a constant message of having to accomplish everything now because of social disruption, the economy and climate change. I feel like I’m constantly being told my time is running out. And I’m 21. I love the trips I’ve gotten to take on my own these days, but I don’t have it in me to get me and my boyfriend across the world. I don’t want to be afraid of going to wonderful places in my thirties.

What we can learn from this trend


This is essentially the only song I’ve been listening to this week, so I’m here to remind you to listen to it #billyjoel #music #playlist

♬ Vienna – Billy Joel

Some of these videos are very cute and fun but remember it doesn’t all have to be right now. Whether you’re too young to actually be free of your parents, school, debt, etc. or if you can’t afford to rely on money coming back. There are ways to enjoy your life without uprooting it. I try my best to feel alive in the space where I am. At the end of the day, that’s just as important as the experiences you’ll have down the line.

What are your thoughts on the “money will come back” trend? Let us know in the comments below!

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