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Youngsters improve money skills in recession

Two-thirds of young people think their money management skills have improved during the past year due to the recession, a survey showed today.

Around 67% of 12 to 19-year-olds said they thought they were now better at handling money than they were a year ago, according to High Street bank NatWest.

Many young people said they had been exposed to "adult" money issues as a result of the economic downturn, such as seeing the household budget tighten, and being more aware of unemployment and their parents' money worries.

The recession has also had a direct impact on young people, with boys seeing their pocket money fall by 15% during the past year, while girls suffered an 18% drop.

But despite thinking they were now better at handling money, many young people still had unrealistic expectations about their financial future.

Just over a third of people who hoped to go on to higher education thought they would owe up to £10,000 by the time they finished their course, when the average amount of debt people graduate with is currently around £20,000.

Six out of 10 people also hoped to have bought their first home by the time they were 25, something only 14% of people manage to do.

Many of those questioned also expected to be earning around £31,000 by the time they are 25 and £51,800 by the time they are 35, compared with average salaries for these age groups of around £21,000 and £29,000 respectively.

Boys emerged as being better savers than girls, with a third of boys saving some or all of their money, compared with 24% of girls.

They were also slightly more likely than girls to earn money through part-time work or doing chores, at 30% compared with 27%.

:: EdComs questioned 10,307 12 to 19-year-olds during the autumn of 2009.