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'The Missing Semester' Financial Guide Helps Young Adults Take Control of Student Debt

Author Eugene M. Natali, Jr. wants to help students recognize that financial choices have consequences

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent college grads have the highest-ever student debt, an average of more than $27,000 (1). That burden has been increasing for decades, and the statistics certainly shouldn't surprise. And don't hold your breath, because it's likely that the class of 2013 will take the top spot once the numbers are tabulated, and the class of 2014 soon thereafter.  

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140121/PH49296-a )

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140121/PH49296-b )

This financial crisis merits the attention that it receives in the news media. Over the last 30-years the inflation-adjusted cost of college is up 257%, while family income has grown just 16%, according to statistics on www.whitehouse.gov. That suggests that even as students take on more debt, their ability to re-pay it is declining.

But there's a bigger problem, in an older generation, that points to trouble ahead for the students. Baby boomers across the country – with average savings that are far lower than they need—are facing a retirement crisis.  Far from accumulating savings, 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck (2). 

So why do we continue to send our graduates into the adult world of financial responsibility, ill-prepared for the money choices that await?

Financial choices (students are already making them) have consequences, and the penalties of not choosing wisely can stay with us, literally, for a lifetime. 

How can we, with a clear conscience, continue to send our students into the working world with average debts of nearly $30,000, without teaching them how to repay those loans?  Money 101 is the most under-taught subject in America (check almost any course catalog), and the gap in financial literacy is quickly becoming a gaping hole.  

Matt Kabala and Gene Natali, Jr. wrote a small book that's having a big impact. The Missing Semester is a concise, easy-to-read financial guide for young adults 18-30 years of age.  A number of educational institutions across the country have incorporated The Missing Semester into classrooms. The book's website shares both expert and student testimonials (www.themissingsemester.com). There is evidence that people out there get it—educators who grasp the importance of this subject and students who recognize the control they can have over their financial choices.  For example, financial plans created by students at the University of Pittsburgh in conjunction with The Missing Semester will leave you hopeful. (The plans are shared on the book's website.)

But it's clear these represent a tiny fraction of a solution when you realize that everyone of their generation will face these financial topics, questions and choices in one way or another. The student-debt crisis points to the need for a far more comprehensive effort to provide all students basic education about money. Every high school and college has its share of future teachers, doctors, mechanics, builders, engineers, even drop-outs. All will make critical decisions about money.

About the Author:
Eugene M. Natali, Jr. is a Senior Vice President at C.S. McKee, L.P. and co-author of "The Missing Semester".  The book is a financial guide for young adults and was awarded the 2013 EIFLE Book of The Year. To learn more about the book, or for an interview with the authors please visit www.themissingsemester.com contact Eugene Natali via email at 412-780-4851 or email.

(1) http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2013/12/27/2012-grads-have-highest-ever-student-debt/stories/201312270106

(2) http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/

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