Debt climbs among under-20s

16 July 2004
With thousands of teenagers leaving school this week new figures have shown rising levels of debt in the under 20s.

The research comes from the UK's leading debt charity, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.

It has found that since 2002 the number of people aged 18 to 20 seeking help has increased tenfold.

In addition the UK has witnessed a dramatic rise in the average level of debt, from £2,615 in the second quarter of 2002 to £8,090 in the first quarter of 2004.

Director of money education charity, Credit Action, Keith Tondeur, has been urging parents to be more open with their children about money matters.

He says: "Basic budgeting skills are best learnt at home. It is never too soon to start giving your children an allowance or pocket money - make it clear what this is expected to cover and be prepared to be firm."

Mr Tondeur adds: "Talk about money and make sure your children have some basic understanding of different types of credit and what they cost."

Among other advice, he says it is important not to nag but instead be upfront and open when parents cannot afford something their children may want.

To help parents, as well as others advising school leavers, including teachers and employers, Credit Action has produced a guide specifically aimed at school leavers, which offers advice about all types of money matters.

This includes help with student loans and credit protection insurance, as well as explaining financial jargon and offering practical help with budgeting.