Today’s cuppa: Bewley’s Gold Blend tea
Forget the mortgage meltdown, forget economic upheavals, forget rising mountains of national debt — a lot of young Americans are starting out in life with a crushing personal debt load, busted broke before they even get a chance to have house payments, be laid off or find themselves in a punishingly high tax bracket.
Here’s a syndicated piece I did for this week on how PBS is stepping up to help out …
Premiering Wednesday, Sept 9
(check local listings), the PBS special “Your Life, Your Money” introduces viewers
to Amanda McCormick, the indebted Florida college senior, along with six other
young people facing financial issues.
Donald Faison (“Scrubs”) is
host for the one-hour special, which also offers insights from hip-hop icon
Russell Simmons and R&B/pop singer D. Woods (Danity Kane).
Also offering advice is
personal finance expert Beth Kobliner (“Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance
in Your Twenties and Thirties”).
“Financial education should
be a one-credit course that everyone takes,” Grant says.
“Why did they give mortgages
to people who didn’t have jobs, who didn’t have incomes?” Kobliner says. “Same
with credit cards. And these young people are graduating, and they can’t get jobs.
If you owe $1,000, and you only make the minimum monthly payment, it’s going to
take you 18 years to pay it off.
“I’m a financial journalist.
I go around the country and talk a lot to colleges. And the number-one point
that young people of this age group are realizing: They’re going to have to
move back in with their parents.”
Obviously, many of these
parents would like to avoid that eventuality and steer their kids on the right financial
“A lot of us wound up having
kids at or near the target age of the program,” executive producer John Grant
says, “so we would sit around and tell these personal stories of either their
failures or successes, in that regard.
“The broadcast of the
program is really aimed in as many ways at parents as much as it is the target
“Your Life, Your Money” also
has a companion Web site with extensive information to help young people become
more financially literate.