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June 21, 2010 Monday 4:54 PM EST
SECTION: PERSONAL FINANCE; Personal Finance Daily
LENGTH: 1103 words
HEADLINE: For young Americans, the hits just keep coming
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College grads and other young adults in this economic downturn really don’t have it easy. There’s the horrendous job market. There’s the fact that average incomes are sliding — a burden that can negatively affect your entire lifetime of earnings. College tuition rates haven’t budged, and contribute to steep debt loads upon graduation. There’s the ballooning federal deficit and state budget problems — and all that implies for the future of tax rates (higher) and government services (fewer). There’s the murky outlook for Social Security and Medicare.
And now we can add one more to the list: No more free bank accounts.
As Robin Sidel writes in the Wall Street Journal, there are ways to fight back against the new fees banks are imposing on customers, most notably checking-account fees.
But the problem is that many of the tools at hand to fight back are available solely to people with well-established financial lives. For instance, one way to avoid checking account fees is to have your mortgage at the same bank as your checking account. Not very many young adults have mortgages.
Also, people with a lot of money in their accounts certainly have some chance of reversing the fees if they call the bank to complain. But a 20-something customer with a few hundred bucks in his checking account? Not so much.
One piece of good news, perhaps: These fees are being prompted by a new spate of consumer-friendly rules, and you could argue that we’re all better off with a known monthly fee than, say, unlimited interest-rate hikes on credit-card balances.
Another piece of good news: Thanks to the economic crisis, we are hopefully fostering a new nation of savers, like their Depression-era great-grandparents before them. And maybe the “new frugality,” if it holds, with its focus on growing your own food, thrift-store shopping, making what you can yourself and buying only what you need, may, ultimately, mean greater happiness for more people. Fewer Saturday-afternoon trips to the mall have got to be good for a person.
But it’s not going to be easy for these kids to get a leg up.
— , Personal Finance editor
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Flood insurance gets harder to find
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Avoid summer slump
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Want your old job back?
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SAVING & SPENDING
Money lessons from Mom and Dad
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THE GULF OIL SPILL
Gulf oil spill victims will be paid quickly
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ECONOMY & POLITICS
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Six myths about investing in dividend-paying stocks
When Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip “Dilbert,” heard that BP was “destroying a portion of the earth” without, at the time, cutting its dividend, he said he thought it would be a great time to buy.
Treasury yields to rise by year-end: survey
The biggest bond dealers see Treasury yields rising by the end of the year as investors become more comfortable with the global economy’s path to recovery.
Reverse share-splits unite ETF investors
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