Teenagers take out loans and pensions

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The Independent Online

Gone is the irresponsibility of youth. Today's young people are starting work years earlier than their parents did and are more likely to take on financial commitments such as loans before the age of 21.

Gone is the irresponsibility of youth. Today's young people are starting work years earlier than their parents did and are more likely to take on financial commitments such as loans before the age of 21.

Research published today shows that millions of young people are deciding on careers, venturing abroad, moving in with their partners and buying cars far earlier in life than previous generations.

The extent of adult responsibilities adopted by young people is revealed in an ICM poll of over 1,000 15 to 24 year olds. The findings showed that teenagers and those in their early twenties are making important choices very early in their lives.

Far from avoiding work nearly two thirds have started part-time or summer jobs by the time they are 16. More than half have made their full-time career choice by the time they are 18.

The generation gap is most apparent when it comes to money matters. One in five of those surveyed started paying into a pension by the age of 19 and 24 per cent get their first credit card at 18.

One in five young people also take their first loan out at 18, and by the age of 21, more than a third have borrowed money to live on. Their parents by contrast took their first loan out at 25, their grandparents did not borrow money until they were 34.

"Since the sixties, youth culture has grown at an ever increasing rate. Entering the 21st century the image of the confused, misfit teen has been completely remodelled to resemble a dynamic, educated and significant player in our competitive consumer society," said Dr Mark Hamilton, ofthe Essentials site, an information site for young people, which commissioned the research.

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