Financial planning advice for young adults

February 22, 2012 6:31:50 PM PST
Recently released U.S. Census data shows the number of 25- to 34-year-olds living at home has risen more than 25 percent since 2007. But with a little financial planning, those young adults could soon be living on their own.

Atlee Cheema, 24, moved back in with his parents three years ago after graduating from UC Santa Barbara. He returned to his family's home in Half Moon Bay with his bank account depleted.

"Going into college I had about a couple of thousand saved in my savings account. By the time college ended, I didn't have anything in my savings account," Cheema said.

His parents took care of all his college costs. He spent all his money on partying and going out. "I'd live for the moment. I felt like the day I got out of college I was going to get a high-paying job," he said.

Chelsea Krost just turned 21 years old. The Marymount College student says learning about finances is not something that comes easy for her. "I would say that I'm mostly scared of numbers. But I think being scared of numbers made me also say to myself, 'OK, Chelsea, you have to learn more about finances,'" she said.

She's seen too many of her fellow students graduate without even knowing the basics about managing money. "We don't learn that in college. It's kind of like you graduate, you get your degree and then you're off in the real world, and we don't know how to live in the real world," Krost said.

Currently nearly 6 million young adults live with their parents. Cheema is one of those, but he hopes to be out on his own as soon as possible. He just opened his first savings account. "It's going to be something I'm not going to touch like when I have fun on the weekends. I'm just going to touch my checking and pretend like my savings doesn't even exist," he said.

Circumstances forced Krost to grow up sooner than most students. She launched her own radio show at the age of 16, and she currently works as a teen Millennial correspondent for several TV stations.

She's learned to watch her spending by listing all of her costs in a money diary. She said: "You have to start learning your own money spending pattern. And then after that, that's where you can start learning. "

She also suggests students start their own businesses, focusing on services that they are good at. Examples she gave include dog walking, tutoring or even computer repair. Just like many older adults, Krost has also learned the importance of finding good bargains, scouring for sales and shopping at second-hand stores.

Cheema knows it's time to prioritize and that he needs to spend more wisely. "To be honest, my dad's kind of been on my case about that this past month or so, and it kind of just got me thinking, what's the harm in having a savings account."

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