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Young adults fail to plan for financial future 

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Two thirds of young adults have financial goals but most don’t have a plan to reach them, according to research carried out for the Money Advice Service (MAS).

Analysis carried out for MAS by the University of Edinburgh Business School identified three main groups of young adults – ‘planners’, ‘dreamers’ and ‘drifters’ – of which attitudes towards money differ greatly.

Planners, who made up 37% of the sample size, are those who have financial goals and a plan to reach them. Dreamers (36%) are those who also have financial goals but no plans to reach them, while Drifters (27%) are those who have neither goals nor plans.

The report found that when young adults do make a financial plan, it is usually for short-term ‘save to spend’ goals, with 47% reporting they were saving for a holiday and 30% saving for a car.

The report also discovered there are several factors linked to a young adult’s motivation to set financial goals and make a plan to hit them. This included their level of financial confidence and independence.

While young adults are the least confident age group when it comes to financial matters, the study suggested this confidence grows not only with age but also experience.

Overwhelmed by the quantity of information available, the study showed that beyond family, many young adults are unsure where to turn for help with their money. The least confident young adults are three times more likely to have a debt problem, while of the 24% who are over-indebted, only one in 10 are seeking advice.

Caroline Rookes, chief executive of the MAS, said: “It is great to see that some young people have financial goals and are already starting to build good savings habits, but a worrying number of young people are not setting financial goals and may be storing up trouble for the future. We now need to motivate them to make longer term plans to help them achieve these financial aspirations.”

To help young adults MAS suggests three simple steps to take to plan for financial goals:

Plan out what you want to achieve and when, however short-term – Think about the type of things you want to save for, the likely total costs, and when you need the money by. This might be for transport costs to get to work, college or university; the cost of a trip or holiday; buying and running a car or scooter; saving a deposit for a flat or house.

Make a budget – Work out how much money you will be able to save each week or month.

Be money savvy – Be clever with your spending to make sure you are able to put money away.

To see what category you fall into – namely a panner, dreamer or a drifter, MAS has developed a quiz you can take, click here to find out.