Adam Levin is the former Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and is the founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. He recently posted on Huffington Post’s Business Blog. He titled his writing, “The New American Dream: It’s Not What You Think.” Mr. Levin cites a recent credit.com poll that found that approximately one in four people between the ages of 18 and 24 would describe the “American Dream” as being free of debt. Interestingly, in the past, home ownership was the definition of the American Dream. Historically home ownership has been seen as the pinnacle of stability and success for U.S. Americans. In fact, old laws required that citizens be required to own a home before being allowed to register to vote. The recession, however, has caused young adults to view the ownership of a home as far out of reach. In fact, basic financially stability is the more recent goal.
You can start thinking about financial stability right now. College-aged students are very prone to debt. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that the student loans you take now (or when you enter college) will have to be repaid. The very time that they have to be repaid will be when you are settling into a new environment and have many expenses. I recommend you are very careful to only borrow what you HAVE to have to survive. You can also look for part time employment to help pay your expenses.
Credit card debt is also very common. Credit cards tend to charge exorbitant rates of interest, making the final bill for your purchases significantly higher than actual price. It is good to have access to funds for emergencies, and it is also a good idea to build a credit history. Yet, always make sure you only charge what you can pay at the end of the month.
Deep in Debt: Starting Managing Now includes a variety of resources for debt management, including links to articles on budgeting and financial calculators. Start planning now!! Making good choices now will lead to greater satisfaction later.