Gen Y takes credit for low credit card debt

GENERATION Y, born between 1979 and 1991, have been written off by older commentators as narcissistic, dependent, apathetic drunks whose pants need to be drastically pulled up or down depending on their latest fashion folly.

Yet the latest evidence reveals this much maligned age group is driving our national credit card down and consumer choices up, even outdoing their parents with financial wisdom.

The Reserve Bank this week announced that for the first time since records began, Australia's credit card debt actually dropped in consecutive months.

The average Australian credit card balance fell by 2.3% in the year to November. The average balance is now $3262.60

Financial experts attributed the national pay down to Gen Y, who are leading the shift from credit to debit card transactions.

According to a RaboDirect's 2012 study, 84% of Gen Y - routinely labelled as self-entitled slackers - sought financial advice compared to the 76% average.

While reality shows garner great ratings by portraying lazy Gen Y moochers, unwilling to leave the family nest, this is not a fair portrayal.

While a quarter of Gen Y continue to live at home, most of them do so to save for hefty deposits.

However, no one is safe from the broad, brown brush used in the outdated generational debate.

While boomers get sledged as sell-outs, most of the oldies I know are either caring for grandchildren, postponing retirement or locking-on to rigs.

The Xers, accused of being cynical and apathetic, spend more of their rare leisure time focused on their kids than any group before them.

Say what you like about how they wear their pants, but Gen Y will bear the financial load of an aging population amid uncertain times. So be nice, and congratulate their fiscal conservatism, because we need someone who can pick up the bill.

Save money like Gen Y

Start young: As long as you keep working, compounding interest can build even meagre savings into a considerable sum

Pay off: Even if you refuse to penny pinch, paying off your credit card every month or exclusively using a debit card is the wisest financial habit you can make.

Seek advice: Getting financial advice early will save you thousands in the long run.

Start small: Owning a quarter acre block is not your birthright. A small apartment will save on interest and overheads.

Shop around: Use comparative online tools to select the best car and health insurance.

Use the internet to research the best deal and ensure you don't buy a dud by reading online reviews.

Choose to use a debit card or PayPal account linked to a savings account for online purchases.