The six rules Gen Z shoppers should follow as survey finds average debt exceeds £5,000

Britain’s Gen Z adults are an average of more than £5,000 in debt while one in 10 owe more than double that.

This group of young adults, who were born in the mid to late 1990s through to the early 2010s, are putting their finances at risk with their buy now pay later lifestyle, according to research based on a survey of 2,000 UK residents commissioned by credit management company Lowells.

The average debt for these young adults is £5,069 with 13 percent owing more than £10,000.

It found that credit cards (48 percent) were the most common debt type, followed by buy now pay later debt (18 percent), and payday loans (10 percent).

Some 61 per cent said the financial decisions made in their younger years had affected them in later years.

Lowell UK chief executive, John Pears, said: “Many young people have not had the financial education needed to successfully manage their financial health, resulting in many having already experienced problem debt.

“Sadly, a worrying amount of people in the UK don’t know how to tackle their debt.”

Lowells has produced a series of tips to help cope with debt:

Track your spending habits

Thirty percent admit to avoiding checking their bank account due to worry about their balance, however keeping an eye on your debit and credit statements is essential.

For example, it helps to deter wasteful spending and to spot unused subscriptions and services which can be cancelled.

Educate yourself on financial terms

More than one in five (22 percent) read terms and conditions on financial agreements but don’t fully understand them.

A lack of financial literacy can lead to unnecessary stress, debt and missed opportunities. Beginning your financial education journey by having open conversations with friends and family.

There are also plenty of practical online tools such as personal finance blogs, as well as financial dictionaries to break down key terms.

Apply responsibly for new credit

Be aware that applying for multiple credit products within a short period can increases the number of ‘hard’ checks on your credit report, which can negatively impact your credit score.

When applying for credit, first research and familiarising yourself with the terms and conditions, including interest rates and fees.

Buy-now-pay-later can be a really useful solution, but make sure you are able to keep up with repayments.

Keep an eye on your credit score

One in three (32 percent) of the gen Z adults surveyed do not fully understand the meaning of a credit score.

By downloading a free credit score tracker like Credit Karma or ClearScore you can check your score for free and can also monitor how paying off your debt can positively impact your credit score.

These trackers also offer advice on how to improve your credit score over time, and will help you to visualise how your spending habits affect your score.

Pay your bill on time

Failing to pay bills on time can incur late fees or trigger punishing APR interest rates on outstanding debts.

A late payment can damage your credit score, so harming efforts to quality for home loans and other credit in the future.

It can be helpful to set up a direct debit to cover regular payments.

Reach out for advice if you’re struggling with debt

More than one in three (35 percent) report feeling more comfortable with their finances after seeking help and advice.

Speak to your creditors as they will help you to create a plan to pay off what you owe in manageable installments.

Debt organisations and charities also offer resources and credible advice.


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