Debt among 18-24 year olds has risen 104% since 1992, and this age group spends almost 30% of its income on debt payments, according to a recent study by Demos, titled Generation Broke. The study also points out that credit card companies are aggressively marketing college students with offers of free pizza, T-shirts or other incentives, and that students are clearly lured by this technique.
The Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG) said that half of children had been in debt by the time they were 17, while many had a “worryingly laidback” attitude towards debt and spending.
One in five teenagers believed that getting a credit card would allow them to buy things that they would not otherwise be able to afford, while one in 20 of those questioned believed that there was no need to pay back credit card debt at all!
Wendy van den Hende, the Financial Education Charity’s chief executive, said its survey of teenagers showed “how seamlessly they appear to be drifting towards an adulthood of debt”.
“We owe it to our young people to ensure that they have the financial acumen to deal with the responsibilities of being an adult,” she said.
Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS), the personal finance advice charity, said teenagers who grew up thinking that debt was acceptable would fuel Britain’s current crisis.
The Financial Services Authority, the Government regulator, is championing the use of personal finance lessons in classrooms in order to teach teenagers about debt before they are old enough to get into serious trouble.