Gen Y: Build a Credit and Debt Game Plan

America’s Gen Y – 87 million people age 18 to 34 – are stressed out over finances, according to Western Union Payments MoneyMindset Index survey. The survey reports that half of Gen Y respondents feel increased stress about financial obligations; 40 percent say their financial situation has worsened in the last six months.

However, the survey, conducted quarterly by Javelin Strategy & Research, also has good news.

“In spite of the difficult economy, Gen Y are engaging in smart financial behavior to help build their better future,” says David Shapiro, senior vice president, Western Union. “This survey shows Gen Y using tools such as online banking and online bill pay to manage their budget and credit standing.”

Here are some tips to get you started:

Credit and Debt Game Plan:

•    Establish the Base. Open a bank account, and start saving and paying down debt: online banking, online bill payment, automatic deduction and mobile banking are helpful tools.

•    Establish a Budget. Check out online budget management tools to get your budget started. Also check the applications available for smart phones.

•    Establish Credit. Approximately 30 percent of your credit score is based on bill payment history. Look into scheduling automatic payments through your banks or biller.

•    Establish Credit – Part II. Even if it’s just one bill payment, establish credit in your name.

•    Check Your Credit Scores. Know how to obtain your credit scores and read them. Forty percent of Gen Y-ers have not seen their credit scores in the past year, and 44 percent have never seen them. Check sources such as and for how-to’s.

•    Set up an Emergency Fund. Set up an automatic rainy-day savings plan now.

•    Work It Both Ways. Understand there are two paths to financial success. Make more money and save it. Or spend less money and save it. Or do both.

These tips are brought to you by Western Union.

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