The Money Advice Service has released a report detailing the shift in attitudes towards finances between 16-21 year olds and 22-29 year olds.

Credit may seem like "free money" but making repayments can be tough.
Credit may seem like “free money” but making repayments can be tough.

Through their research, conducted by agency 2CV, they found that in general, it was the consequences of their actions as 16-21 year olds that made 22-29 year olds face up to financial realities and the true nature of what it means to be independent, rather than any intervention, financial education or other preventative measure.

Once a teenager hits 18 they have access to a wide range of credit, from store cards to payday loans – two thirds of Wonga customers are under 35. Without guidance, taking out credit can lead to great financial difficulty, but the MAS report found that in general, 18-21 year olds viewed credit as “free money”, and held an optimism that everything would be alright in the end.

The report found that young people generally did not want to admit their financial problems when they arose, only talking in broad terms like “I’m skint”. The latest Stepchange statistics show that 18-24 year olds request the least advice from the charity, an age range with an average unsecured debt level of £4,961.

Caroline Rookes, Chief Executive of the Money Advice Service describes the issues surrounding delivering financial advice:

“Young people tend to think parents, teachers and others of an older generation do not understand them and the pressures on their lives, while immediate peers – classmates and others of the same age – are not considered sources of sound advice. Nor do young people necessarily want to talk about their private money issues with their friends and wider social group.”

Without taking action, interest and debts can mount and lead to consequences that can then impede the ability to become fully independent – struggling to rent or get a mortgage because of credit checks or being unable to afford to run a car.

If you have taken out credit and are struggling to pay it back, or are worried about contact from creditors after taking out loans, make sure you get expert advice and discuss your issues, so that you can find the best solution to get you back on track.

Harrington Brooks advisers are trained, friendly professionals. They’re not their to judge, but to help you work through your circumstances so you can make sure you’re taking the most suitable course of action for your finances.