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The Most Indebted Generation

This article was written by in Debt Reduction. 18 comments.


BusinessWeek and MSN have published an interesting article which describes those of us in our 20s and 30s (ie. me) as the most indebted generation. College seems to be the tipping point. Young adults begin to see the world from an individual point of view rather than as a son or daughter. By the time we left university, student loans and credit card debt overwhlemed us.

Rather, they would have overwhelmed us if we knew to give debt any consideration. Later, there is another tipping point, but it can vary from individual to individual. The impetus could be finding one’s self bankrupt. For me, it was three unrelated events: losing a job, a girlfriend, and an apartment in the same month. In this emergency I had to move back in with my father and get my life in gear.

“This is the first generation who won’t necessarily do better than their parents,” says Tamara Draut, director of the economic opportunity program at Demos, a research and advocacy organization in New York. “They’ve been told: ‘Apply yourself. You’ll get a job, a home.’ For many young people that’s not the case.”

I feel I identify with many of the comments throughout this article. Luckilly, I was able to clear myself of most debt once I came to my Financial Enlightenment. Since then, I purchased a reliable car that will last a long time and went back to school — two choices that required to take on some debt. Hopefully the new degree will pay off in some fashion.

The price of public colleges, where about 80% of all students are enrolled, increased 28% in the past five years alone, far more than in any five-year period since 1975. At private colleges, the total cost increased 17%. Those figures, it should be noted, already take inflation into account. At the same time, outright grants have been shrinking as a proportion of total financial aid.

I’m happy I’ve been out of my undergraduate studies for a while and my company is paying for most of my graduate expenses. I am more concerned about the future for my hypothetical children.

Updated July 16, 2010 and originally published December 6, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 5 comments }

avatar Neo

I am also in my early 30′s and while my finance situation isn’t the best, it isn’t as bad as some of my friends that are in the same age bracket. I have spoken with them about various money saving ideas and they most fairly oblivious about it. I haven’t given up on them yet though.

Neo

avatar Matt Hartrich - Buffalo, NY

At some point, everyone is going to need to learn to save or else they will never put their finanical house in order. The sooner you learn this the better.

avatar NYC Money

I don’t think most people will ever get it together. I think the birth rate is going to drop due to all this debt.

avatar Jonathan

I’m not worried about your children – I’m sure you’ll teach them money matters. I’m more worried about the country as a whole. I think many 20 something people are going to be working much longer that they think they will be. Most current 50 year olds are pretty honest that they might be working well past 65.

avatar Hope

thank goodness we are discussing the stte of our finances. Its bad and we have to take responsibility for teaching and applying debt management.

We can’t just blame the kids we had a part to play in it to. The me me me syndrome is biting our butts.

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