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Gen-Y frugality may be side-effect of recession

Mar 13, 2012 Philip Burgess

It's often the hope of economists that market downturns lead to greater frugality and financial education among the affected public. It may still be too early to tell if the recession will have such an impact, but a new survey of finance writers suggests at least one age group is learning. A report released Thursday by PerkStreet Financial found more than half of surveyed finance experts - 56.5 percent - believe Generation Y has been prepared as well or better for financial management than Generation X. Anisha Sekar, a regular contributor at NerdWallet, cites recent economic troubles as the chief reason for their preparation. "Reputation aside, Gen-Yers have had a personal finance trial by fire," Sekar said in a statement. "Between student loans, an anemic job market and being in the last-hired-first-fired group, much of this generation learned frugality and saving by necessity." But what does this mean for banks and creditors? An overly frugal generation may lead to lower borrowing levels and less activity for debt collection specialists. But if the recent spike in January consumer credit is any indicator that fear may be unfounded.