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Manage Your Debt, or Debt Will Manage Your Life

One of the many things that can trip you up early on in the race of your life: Managing money, as seen in this excellent USA Today series on the struggles of young people managing their financial debts.

Fact is, almost two-thirds of this American generation of twentysomethings carry some debt, and based on an analysis of some 3 million records by Experian, they've accrued more of it over the past five years. And, nearly half of this age group has stopped paying some of their debt too.

The fastest group to amass debt: Young adults who owe at least $20,000, if not more in student loans. Student loans are one thing, but drinking $5 coffees from Starbucks and buying new furniture and a plasma TV -- full of channels with little to nothing worth watching -- just to keep up your peers is quite another, however.

These dismal numbers should also serve as a wakeup call for anyone -- young or old -- planning their retirement. Plan it as if Social Security will not be there for you and optimize your health so you can work and earn your own income. Besides, aren't you worth the investment?

USA Today November 20, 2006