Young people most regretful of spending habits, survey finds

Dec 27, 2016

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A new survey from the debt management website Student Loan Hero found young people to be most regretful of their financial habits in 2016.

The survey, which was conducted through Google Consumer Surveys, found that those aged 18 to 24 were the most likely to regret frivolous spending. It also found that the 18 to 24 group was most likely to regret not saving or investing as much as they would have liked.

Student Loan Hero CEO Andrew Josuweit says college grads can find it difficult to prioritize debt.

Josuweit said that with full-time schedules, it can be difficult for students to increase their income enough to manage debt.

“Specifically for students, you know, you’re essentially going to school 9 to 5. They have a really rigorous schedule lots of the time and it’s really hard to work outside of school. And the easiest thing if you’re trying to save or invest is to increase your income. The matter of fact situation is that they really don’t have a lot of flex time to put into earning income,” Josuweit said.

Thirty-two percent of 18 to 24-year-olds said they regret not saving or investing as much as they want. Twenty-three percent say they regret frivolous spending.

“When you get out of school, our first advice to student loan borrowers is to focus on paying off your highest interest rate debt. So, if that is a credit card, you should tackle that first. There’s a lot of great alternative repayment plans with student loans, like income-driven repayment, or income-based repayment, that could lower your monthly payments on your student loans so you can tackle that higher interest rate debt first,” Josuweit explained.

He added that as college costs continue to rise, young people have more difficulty managing debt.

“I’d like to see the next administration come in and try to reel in the cost of college,” Josuweit said. “Whether or not that’ll happen, you know. If we can’t reel in the cost, the other thing we could do as a society is consumers could say, ‘Hey, I’m not going to spend that much money. I’m not going to go to an expensive school.’ And by way of doing that, we could put pressure on the college system to reel in costs.”

The survey said the biggest financial regret of Americans of all ages this year was not saving or investing enough money. Josuweit said he is most alarmed by the survey’s findings that over one-third of respondents say they don’t have a financial resolution for the new year. That’s up 23 percent from last year. More than half of respondents who said they don’t have a financial resolution are 60 or older.