Youth & Debt: Why It’s Important to Talk About Money

Jul. 18, 2013 / By

As the cost of tuition rises and the job market becomes more difficult, young people today have become more indebted than generations past.

With school loans and credit card costs, young people in particular often have no idea where to turn for advice on money. There are no financial literacy classes offered in high school and because many parents are unable to teach their children how to manage their money, many youth are left to fend for themselves in the scary world of making and keeping money.

In the video above, VoiceWaves caught up with a few local community figures to comment on the issue, and to provide tips and resources for learning about debt and balancing a budget.

“We’ve had many people come in with a stack of bills and no idea what to do just saying, ‘Help me,’ said Leticia Mata, Community Education and Development Coordinator for Orange County’s Credit Union, which has a branch in Long Beach. “It was tough at first but over time we helped them boost their credit scores… And they did all that, not us. We just led them in the right direction.”

Mata recommended that young people learn to write a simple budget, including one’s income, expenses, and general financial standings and balances.

“Once we establish that and have a budget, then everything else is just really easy,” Mata said. “Because this is a family that was created, there is communication and now, and we could take it from that point on.”

The OC Credit Union offers workshops, not just for young people, but anyone who wants to learn. Some of their more popular workshops include understanding your credit, identity theft, home-buying, auto-buying, and investing in the future.

For those applying to college, but are unsure about loan and grant opportunities, there is also much to learn.

“It’s so rewarding to hear parents at their graduation stand up and tell us they thought they weren’t going to be able to afford college,” Mata said. “We didn’t know that there were so many resources out there and so much opportunity here for our children. We’ve seen parents be pleasantly surprised that there are actual grants, free money that is being given away just by applying.”

For more information about the organizations featured in the video, check out the resource list below:
Orange County’s Credit Union:
Long Beach Time Exchange:
Scholarships for Minorities:
Centro CHA:
MALDEF Scholarships (For Hispanics):

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Nayobi Maldonado-Ochoa

Nayobi L. Maldonado-Ochoa is a multimedia content creator based in Southern California. Her work has been featured in many outlets such as KPFK 90.7 FM, YouthWire, and The Panther. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Women's Studies from Chapman University in 2016. She is passionate about sharing her words and stories to others and her overall career goal is to become a talk show host on FM or satellite radio.