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Generation Debt: new report reveals young people's attitudes to debt

23 September 2015

Two fifths wish they weren't in debt, and over 20% say their debts make them feel depressed.

  • Almost half (48%) of people aged 18-25 have debts other than student loans and/or mortgages
  • The average amount owed by people in this age group is £3,109
  • On average, parents underestimate their children's debt by around 47%
  • Bank overdrafts (39%) and credit cards (31%) are the most common forms of money woes

A new report, published today, reveals young people's experiences of debt and how their attitudes to money management compare to those of their parents' generation. The 'Generation Debt' report draws on real-life accounts of people who have been in debt, as well as insights from charities and debt experts, to paint a picture of the financial realities facing the UK's young people today.

To read the 'Generation Debt' report, commissioned by Gocompare.com, visit: www.gocompare.com/generationdebt/

Matt Sanders, money spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said:

"While half of parents (51%) feel that their grown-up children are responsible with money, they underestimated the average debt of young people by almost half. People aged 18-25 admit to being £3,109 in debt, on average, while parents of children of a similar age thought that their kids' debts were closer to £1,659, and that's not including student loans or mortgages.

"What is clear from the research we carried out and came through when putting this report together, is the importance of learning effective money management techniques early on in life. If young people are prepared for the financial decisions they will have to make as adults they should be able to avoid putting themselves in a difficult situation in the future.

"Even being able to look past marketing messages or fancy features to find the right credit cards, current accounts, loans and other financial products is hugely important. These are things that people often never encounter until they reach 18 or have left the family home, yet they are expected to know what to do with no practice or guidance.
 
"Aside from this, it's important that young people understand the basic differences between credit and debt, but also the application of each in real-life situations. Likewise, a thorough understanding of budgeting, money saving and forward planning is all crucial to household money management.

"As such, adding financial education to the curriculum is necessary and should be applauded. But these lessons don't need to start and end in the classroom. There are lots of ways that parents can help their children to understand and appreciate money from an early age, such as by involving them in the weekly food shop or setting them tasks to earn their pocket money and save for things they want."

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Notes to editors:

Between 24 and 25 February, 2015, OnePoll conducted an online survey among 2,000 randomly selected UK adults aged 18-25.
Between 21 and 27 October, 2014, OnePoll conducted an online survey among 2,000 randomly selected UK parents of children aged 16-25.