Teens and young adults face stark economic realities. Job prospects are limited. In today's tighter credit environment, getting a credit card, buying a car and saving for the down payment on a first home will likely require patience. Achieving financial independence will take longer.

But there may be a silver lining: A bit of financial conservatism could be healthy for young people, especially those who watched their parents overspend and overextend their finances. How will they make their way through the proliferating products and channels offered by the financial services industry? How will they use and manage credit? Will they save?

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