Because they're idiots, if this article is anything near reality.
The subject of the article (actually a member of Generation X) lived beyond her means.
When Wallace graduated with a student-loan debt of $60,000, she found herself overwhelmed to the point of financial paralysis. She tore through a $5,000 loan from her dad as bills stacked up. She had no idea where her money was going -- despite making what she defines as a good salary. The sense of powerlessness crippled her.
When friends recommended she hire an accountant, Wallace packed a FedEx box with bills, receipts and mail and sent it off.
"He wrote me a letter that said, 'You've got to get your life together! Most of these bills aren't even open.' It was a really humbling thing," Wallace says. "But the next time, all my receipts were on a spreadsheet. No one had ever taught me to make a budget or balance a checkbook."
Even if you've never sat down and created a budget, you should remember how to add and subtract. Count your sources of income: probably two or three paychecks. Count your sources of outgo: rent, car payment, student loans, credit card bill, electricity, gas, water, phone, cable, Internet. Look at the credit card bill, and split that into food, entertainment, and the like. Pay attention to how much cash you spend, and where you spend it. Add and subtract, and it should be obvious whether or not you're living within your means.
Now, I can afford to not have a formal budget and deal with bills once a month, as they're currently all automatically deducted from my bank account, and I don't constantly spend in excess of my monthly income. But most recent college graduates can't, and shouldn't, guess their way through the world of adult personal finance.
Labels: personal finance