Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Debt 'new normality' for generation

Student loans, credit cards, loans and overdrafts are the main sources of debt for people aged between 18 and 30, a survey showed

Young adults are finding it almost impossible to break free from their parents, both emotionally and financially, as they struggle to become independent, according to a study.

A survey of 1,500 people aged between 18 and 30 by The Co-operative Group found that debt had become the "new normality" for their generation.

Student loans, credit cards, loans and overdrafts were the main sources of debt, with almost a third admitting they were hiding the state of their finances from their parents.

More than four out of five of those questioned were receiving financial support from their parents, needing help to buy food or repay debts. Most also turned to their parents to help find a job, give them lifts, or do household chores, the report said.

The study also revealed that 18 to 30-year-olds were earning more than £7,000 a year less than they thought they would in relation to their age and education, while one in 10 did not feel their job matched their qualifications. Two-fifths of those surveyed were dissatisfied with their lives, believing they should have achieved more.

Martyn Wates, deputy group chief executive at The Co-operative Group, said: "It should not be forgotten that it is these young adults who are ultimately going to shape the future of Britain for years to come, so they need support and encouragement to thrive which, in turn, will only be positive for the future of the country.

"Whilst it is positive to see that young people believe that they will one day earn a healthy salary, the survey has signposted that the earnings of 18 to 30-year-olds do not currently live up to expectations which highlights that, for now at least, this ambitious group may have to re-evaluate their ideals."

The research also revealed that one in four young adults had never climbed a tree or played conkers and one in eight had never ridden a bike.

And before leaving school, a third had smoked or bunked off lessons and almost a fifth had taken drugs, the study found.

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