USA Today: “Young and In Debt”

Following links for 2006-12-12 posted by J.D. at, I came across this at USA Today on "Young and In Debt". In this six week series, USA Today profiles five "twentysomethings" who have large amounts of debt and financial planners offer advice to help improve the situation, in addition to several articles on budgeting, paying off debt, credit cards etc.

I had the chance to look at only "week 1" so far, and it looks quite interesting. The introductory article (Young people struggle to deal with kiss of debt) contains a lot of fairly disturbing statistics. The ones that really bothered me are

[…] (based on analysis of the credit records of 3 million twentysomethings that Experian, the credit-reporting agency, did for USA TODAY) Nearly half of twentysomethings have stopped paying a debt, forcing lenders to "charge off" the debt and sell it to a collection agency, or had cars repossessed or sought bankruptcy protection. […]

[…] The 2000 Census found that more than 25% of 18- to 34-year-olds had moved back in with family at the time the Census was taken. […]

Jeez!!! Lets try not to become a part of these statistics, folks! Anyway, coming back to topic, the introductory article is followed by a write-up about why budgeting is important and an interactive budgeting tool in excel. The excel sheet looks really good, since it is tailored for young adults. If you don’t already have a budgeting method in place I highly recommend that you try it out. If you have read my earlier Latte Factor post, you might notice how a budgeting tool like this can help identify the seemingly small expenses that could snowball into ugly debt or, as easily, bloom into early retirement.

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