(LIN) — According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, young adults are shedding off debt faster than those 35 and older.
So listen up, old folks. The ball is in our court. This could mean serious hope for the America's future financial vitality.
So how did young Americans shed all their debt so easily? The answer is as simple as living within their means and reducing the number of cars, homes and credit cards they have when times are tough.
In the report, debt factors are compared to recent recessions and how Americans as a whole recovered.
Here are some of the key findings:
- The amount of outstanding amounts of vehicle debt owed among young adults fell from $13,000 in 2007 to $10,000 in 2010.
- In 2001, 50 percent of young adults carried a balance on credit cards. That amount fell to 39 percent in 2010.
- In total, from 2007 to 2010, the median debt of households headed by an adult younger than 35 fell by 29 percent.
The only area of debt that continues to increase for young Americans is student debt, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. In 2001, 26 percent of young adults shouldered student loans. That increased to 34 percent in 2007 and reached 40 percent in 2010.
The student loan burden will more than likely continue to plague our generation until the cost of higher education decreases or the value of college degrees increases.
Even still, this should be a proud moment for young Americans. Sure, it's easier for us to rebound from bad decisions because we may not be as tied down as our 35 and older counterparts. Or maybe it's because we have more time to recover from financial follies and learn from our mistakes.
Either way, it's refreshing to know that in uncertain political and economic times, young Americans are paying attention to what's going on and are taking steps to shield themselves from factors beyond their control.
If only leaders in Washington could take a page out of a 20-something's playbook, maybe we'd be closer to solving our federal budget woes.
Gen Y is a weekly opinion piece covering issues that matter most to younger, influential Americans through their late 30s. Jessica O. Swink, a 20-something, is the digital political producer for LIN Media and contributing editor to onPolitix.
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