Generation Z is graduating from college, starting careers – and establishing some bad financial habits, according to new research data. But all is not lost, according to Rob Scheinerman, president if AIG Retirement Services.

Despite being burdened with enormous student debt that some will not be able to pay off, Scheinerman said, “Young adults are tech savvy and incredibly creative. They have the ability to change the world by making this [debt] problem solvable. I have a great amount of optimism for them.”

To make Scheinerman’s optimistic outlook a realty, Gen Z, usually defined as the generation born between the late 1990s and the present and coming of age in the present world of high education costs and housing costs, is going to need creativity and a lot of hard work, according to annual research sponsored by AIG and conducted by EVERFI, a financial literacy education organization that provides financial wellness solutions. The research is based on data from 30,000 college students at 400 United States colleges and universities.

Scheinerman acknowledged that much of the information from the research is not encouraging.

“We are doing a good job of preparing students on the academic side, but not on the financial side. To go to college now requires a broader financial knowledge than in the past and many of our young people are not fully aware of what it means to go down this collegiate road and ready to enter the workforce,” he said.

According to the research, managing money remains the most daunting challenge for college students for the fourth year in a row, with 47 percent of students saying they do not feel prepared to manage their money.

Sixty percent of students already have taken or plan to take loans to cover their tuition bills, but only 65 percent of borrowers plan to pay off these loans on time and in full. Only 49 percent of students plan to follow a budget, which is down from 76 percent in 2012. Likewise, only 60 percent of students plan to pay their credit card bill on time, down from 85 percent in 2012.

“Many of today’s college students are not ready to take charge of their financial lives, because they do not know how or even what to consider,” Ray Martinez, co-founder and president of EVERFI, said in a statement. “Financial literacy, like all important lessons, must start early – long before the student takes a seat at college orientation and certainly ahead of entering the workforce.”

Student loan debt is contributing to financial pressure felt by college students. Half of students said they are worried about their debts. Students are looking for information. Fifty-eight percent said they could reduce their stress by making a plan to pay off the loans, 53 percent said developing a better understanding of their loan repayment options would help and half said having a clearer picture of the total amount owed would relieve some stress.

Many students are risking making their future financial problems worse by taking out multiple credit card payments and not paying them off monthly, the research showed. Thirty-six percent of students with credit cards has accumulated more than $1,000 in credit card debt, an 11 percentage point increase from 2012.

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