The Great Recession has been a harsh reality for today's 20-somethings, who've begun their adult lives during economic hard times.
The pain starts when these young people cross into their second decade of life and worsens as they age, based on findings of a recent online survey of 2,000 young adults by Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group.
The July 2011 survey found only 26 percent of 22- to 23 year-olds felt optimistic about their personal financial future and just 20 percent were confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement. Of their older peers, aged 28 to 29, a mere 14 percent agreed with both points.
Only 23 percent of 20-somethings described themselves as "totally financially independent." That figure increased with age from 5 percent for those 20 to 21 years old, to 25 percent for those 24 to 25 years old and 34 percent for those 28 to 29 years old. A meager 18 percent of 20-somethings overall said they were confident they'd eventually have enough money to retire comfortably.
Overall, 40 percent of 20-somethings said they relied on two or more sources of income, including a part-time job (57 percent), full-time job (28 percent) and help from one or both of their parents (21 percent). Twenty-somethings also named their parents as their top source of information about financial matters.
In a statement, PNC offered the following tips for young people:
• Don't panic. Think about your financial future, but don't beat yourself up for not meeting your own expectations. Try to think positively about your financial goals.
• Avoid debt traps. Debt isn't all bad, but it's important to be aware of interest rates. High-interest rate debt can make it more difficult for you to save and invest.
• Pay yourself first. Establish a regular savings plan and take advantage of a 401(k) retirement plan, if your employer offers one.
• Make a budget and track your spending. Online money management tools can help you better manage spending, payments and savings.
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