Half of all teenagers struggle with debt problems

22 February 2007
More than half of teens in England have been in debt by the age of 17, according to research by the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg).

The study by pfeg - a charity working with schools to deliver personal finance education – also found that two thirds of youngsters think about money every day, and 90 per cent say they constantly worry about money and spending.

Although the study - conducted to assess the attitudes of today’s teens towards money matters – showed that teens as a whole have a good understanding of money, it also revealed that they are worryingly laid back about debt and spending.

A quarter said that having an overdraft means you don't have to worry about overspending, and 23% of 18 year olds see credit cards as free money – assuming their parents are going to pick up the bill.

Shockingly, a fifth of teenagers don’t think they have to pay back credit debt at all. But more encouragingly, the study also revealed that if given £50, 52% of those asked would spend half and save half, whereas just 30% said they would spend it all.

Wendy van den Hende, chief executive of pfeg, said: “Whilst we are pleased to see that today’s young people are relatively clued up on the mechanics of spending and saving money, it’s also alarming to note how seamlessly they appear to be drifting towards an adulthood of debt.

“We owe it to our young people to ensure that they have the financial acumen to deal with the responsibilities of being an adult. That’s why personal finance education is absolutely vital in schools."

Find out more about debt management