Wait, their main financial concern is the cost of gas?

USA Today has an article that basically illustrates why young “adults” need better education in personal finance and economics. Read this paragraph:

Adults aged 19 to 35 do not believe they earn enough to keep pace with the cost of living, according to the report by Qvisory, a nonprofit online advocacy and service organization. Forty-three percent cite the cost of gas as their top financial concern.

Now this one:

Fifty-seven percent of young adults said they only pay the minimum monthly amount on their credit cards, while 36% said they have paid a late fee on a card in the past year.

Among credit card holders, 41% are more likely to have accumulated debt in the last year, while 33% of young adults who owe money on their credit cards are over $10,000 in debt.

Listen, kids. Your problem is not the cost of gas – it’s that you have too damn much credit card debt! You’re not trying to keep pace with the cost of living, you’re trying to keep pace with the marketing industry. Not one of these kids has accumulated $10,000 in debt by paying at the pump, but I’m willing to bet they have a laptop, iPhone, iPod, Xbox, and a fine selection in designer clothing.

Fix your priorities. Your top financial concern should be your debt, not the cost of gas.

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  1. You make a good point about the importance of establishing wise spending habits. It’s also important to note that many young adults are putting everyday expenses on credit cards because they don’t have the cash to pay for them. If you’re relying on a credit card to help meet monthly expenses, it’s surprisingly easy to rack up a significant amount of credit card debt. In fact, a shocking 37% of the respondents in our survey say they skipped a meal in order to help make ends meet. It seems unlikely that young adults are skipping a meal in order to afford to download more songs for their iPods. Thanks for helping to engage young people in this important discussion, Derek.

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