At 18, young adults are finding themselves with even easier access to credit cards than ever before. Their local bank tells them it’s time to start using credit cards to build their credit. But many young adults aren’t prepared for such a responsibility and can quickly rack up hefty consumer debt. It is crucial for teens to learn about smart spending and saving at a young age.

Most teens and young adults start working entry-level jobs on a part-time schedule while they are going to school. Society and culture has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. The young adults of today are being bombarded with a false sense of reality when they log on to their social media accounts. They see celebrities – and even their peers – going on lavish vacations, wearing expensive brands and frequenting restaurants and clubs regularly. This often leads young adults to overspending – a need to keep up with everyone else.

University students sometimes think they’ll be able to pay off their debts once they finish school and start working at a full-time job. But this isn’t always the case. Once they start working full-time, real life expenses start to pile up and paying off high consumer debt can become more and more difficult to do. It can stand in the way of buying a new car, purchasing a new home, or even saving up for the future.

Gregory Babalis is a financial representative at a local bank. He also provides some advice to young people starting out with debt accumulation and little to no savings. “You should never have a lifestyle beyond your means,” he explains. “I show clients how to save through automatic contributions into different types of investments. I enjoy teaching ways on how to be responsible with your finances. Having such awareness will help you avoid sinking into uncontrollable debt. Follow-ups for me are very important as well. It’s the only way that we reassess that the right habits are in place.”

It’s also important for parents to teach their children how to be fiscally responsible before they get their hands on their own credit cards. They need to understand that their wants are not the same as needs and that saving for a rainy day is not a luxury, but a necessity. When money management is taught early on, young adults can have a stronger understanding of what it means to be responsible with their money. Good habits like self-control and regular saving can lead them on the path to becoming responsible adults who can take care of themselves and their finances.