cover image Gener@tion Debt: Take Control of Your Money—A How-To Guide

Gener@tion Debt: Take Control of Your Money—A How-To Guide

Carmen Wong Ulrich, . . Warner Business, $12.95 (254pp) ISBN 978-0-446-69543-5

When the average college student graduates with $18,560 of debt, almost all of it in tuition loans, and is lucky to find a job that will pay even $28,000 a year, how is he or she supposed to make ends meet? Ulrich, a former projects editor for Money , offers a step-by-step guide on how to budget your monthly expenses, make judicious use of credit cards while avoiding the pitfalls of high interest rates, and find the best way to pay off those student loans. Later sections cover situations like choosing whether to rent or buy a home, getting a car and saving for retirement, and each chapter has links to Web sites with additional resources. Ulrich's advice is simple and to the point, but her efforts to reach a young audience with sarcasm and hip lingo occasionally risk the appearance of talking down to her readers. There's also a slight but uncomfortable strain of resentment aimed toward peers from wealthier families who don't have to grapple with these issues. Ulrich does argue for some big nationwide initiatives, like a higher minimum wage and increased credit card regulation, but she's much more concerned with providing basic solutions to individual financial crises—and delivers the goods effectively. (Jan. 5)