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20-somethings borrow and save

By Marcie Geffner ·
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

Debt is a troubling burden for some 20-somethings, yet many still manage to save money for future needs, according to a recent survey commissioned by The PNC Financial Services Group, a financial services corporation in Pittsburgh.

The online survey, conducted by Artemis Strategy Group, polled 2,000 people ages 20 to 29 who'd completed at least some college courses.

Other findings:

  • Older 20-somethings had more debt at higher and lower interest rates than younger 20-somethings. On average, total debt amounted to $45,000. Those ages 20 to 21 had an average debt load of $12,000, while those aged 28 to 29 owed $78,000, on average.
  • More than half of the respondents had student loans, the most frequently reported type of debt. Other types of debt, in order of frequency and increasing by age, were credit cards, car loans and mortgages.
  • Ninety-four percent of respondents said they save when they can or on a regular basis, but older 20-somethings saved less as a percentage of their income than younger 20-somethings. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they were saving for a big purchase, 41 were saving for a trip within the next 12 months, 38 percent were saving for retirement and 36 percent were saving to purchase a home.

The survey also found 60 percent of respondents felt stressed about their outstanding debt.

For those in that group, PNC offered some advice.

  • Educate yourself about money management and financial planning.
  • Use online and mobile tools to monitor your financial accounts, share advice, establish a budget and set up alerts to help you manage your money.
  • Pay off accounts that have high interest rates first.
  • Keep three to six months' of living expenses in an savings account you can tap to pay for unforeseen expenses.
  • Make regular contributions to a retirement account through your employer or independently. Types of retirement accounts include a 401(k), IRA and Roth IRA.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.

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