Survey finds one-third spend more than they earn and 17pc never practice money management Concern has been raised about the spending habits of young people after a survey revealed nearly 40 per cent of 14- to 25-year-olds do not know how much they spend each month. One-third of them regularly spend more than they earn, with 4 per cent of these admitting they are in the red every month. The survey, commissioned by EPS Company, interviewed 1,126 people last month. It found that the concept of budgeting was weak among the youngsters: 17 per cent never planned or recorded what they spent, while 20 per cent seldom did so. 'The phenomenon is worrying,' said John Bacon-Shone, director of the Social Sciences Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong. 'It's a real problem because they are not very young kids. If they don't learn to keep records and manage their money by 18, it will be even more difficult when they can own credit cards and take up more responsibilities afterwards.' Forty per cent said they borrowed money from families or friends when they overspent, while 17 per cent said they did more part-time work to cover the shortfall. About 4 per cent said they would gamble to get extra money. Dr Bacon-Shone said borrowing money to repay debts might not be a big problem, as long as it was done in a well-organised way. 'It is similar to adults borrowing money from banks to buy a flat. It is acceptable behaviour as long as it is a planned action. It becomes worrying only when they borrow in an unplanned way.' About 87 per cent said they would try to spend less if they had previously overspent. But only one-third said they would learn proper concepts of financial management. Dr Bacon-Shone said learning the correct way to manage money was not a priority among these youngsters, as reflected in the survey results. 'These young people need to understand that spending less and earning more is not always so easily achieved, especially when they take up more responsibilities later.' Alvin Lee Ka-fai, 21, who is studying business administration at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, said he had been left to himself to manage his money. 'My parents did not teach me money management so I learn on my own, spending within the amount I earn that month,' he said. Apart from doing freelance jobs, Mr Lee makes money by investing. He admitted he bought stocks because this was what his friends were doing. 'I don't do research before investing - I buy because all my other friends do. I just follow suit and it looks fun,' he said. Dr Bacon-Shone said parents could start educating their children about money management by requiring them to record how they spent their pocket money and to plan ahead.