[Campus Commentary]College students spend money like waterToday’s undergraduates have grown up in an affluent Korea and are highly receptive to new trends. They also differ from the older generation, being unafraid to show their individuality. Unfortunately, that marked individuality may be on display through their new spending habits.
Recently, a poll conducted by the Samsung Economic Research Institute found that university students spend huge sums of money even when they don’t have a regular income.
Of over 2,000 college students surveyed, most depended on their parents for their living expenses and allowance. But they go out to drink with their friends as frequently if not more than their elders. The study found that male students went out to drink six times a month on average, while female students went drinking four times a month. That is a serious problem.
Most college students’ pocket money averages around 331,000 won ($351) a month, an amount likely to take up 10 percent of the average family’s income. Female students were found to be more dependent on their parents. Among males, those who have gone through military service depended less on their parents than those who have not yet served in the army. Just 33.7 percent of the students interviewed made their own money in part-time jobs.
College students are trend-conscious, so they are likely to spend freely on new products or clothes in the latest fashion. Some say it may be from college students’ spending habits that the marketing term “masstige” arose. The word was coined from “mass” and “prestige product” to indicate that most people would like to buy “prestigious,” often expensive, products.
I am very concerned about the spending habits of today’s university students. They say the new generation is self-confident, but from what I see, they only follow the fashion recklessly rather than creating their own individual character.
*The writer is the former editor of the Dankook University Herald, an English-language news magazine.
by Lim Hyun-ju