Young People 'Do Not Know How To Use Their Money'

By: Steve_smith
Young people leaving school and heading off to university or on a gap year often do not know the best way to make use of money, according to the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg), something that can result in them having numerous debts from loans and credit cards in the future.

The educational charity has said that young people realise that going to university is going to be a costly process and that they will probably emerge with debts in the form of loans, leading to them taking a year out to save and try to reduce the impact. "There's no doubt that young people now recognise that they're going to be incurring considerable financial expenditure in the years immediately after they turn 18," said Alastair Mathews, director of policy at pfeg.

According to the charity, the decision about whether to go to university should be part of financial education taught in secondary school. A classroom debate between the benefits of going straight to university after high school or of taking a gap year could be useful, pfeg suggests, allowing issues about finance and borrowing - whether that be through personal loans, online loans or other means - to be considered. Some are taking a year off after university to financially prepare themselves, Mr Mathews suggested, which could mean there is less need for them to take out debt consolidation loans in the years after they graduate to control their debt levels.

"Young people need to be better prepared for the future by having more financial education while at school". Part of that financial education could be to look at these very questions: "What is the best way to spend these years between 18 and 21?" Mr Mathews said.

The pfeg director of policy added that going to university brings with it a number of stresses and strains on individuals when it comes to financial management, with experience of the so-called real world being picked up through being solely responsible for money for the first time. Considering the long-term financial situation is part of this, according to Mr Mathews: "At university they've got to live independently as well and make all sorts of decisions about buying, spending and saving for future needs as well as present ones."

Recent research by NatWest highlighted the trend to consider a gap year to finance university life, with 54 per cent of those pondering whether to take a year away from studying to save some money. According to NatWest figures, school leavers are set to make a combined 212 million pounds in the 12 months before heading to university.

At the beginning of October, Abbey noted that nearly a third of students starting university in 2007 were doing so without any kind of insurance in place to protect their belongings. The financial services provider found that the average student takes 3,300 pounds of belongings and equipment with them to university, suggesting the cost of replacing such items which are not covered by insurance could be very high and even result in the need for a quick loan.
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