CHARLOTTE — Young professionals are struggling to balance thousands of dollars in debt, while searching for a job and planning for their future.
Members of the class of 2012 said they are planning to tackle their student loans head on.
"I know you have a six month grace period but I'm going to go ahead and start chipping away at it immediately and knocking off some of that interest," said UNC-Charlotte graduate Fabian Elliott.
According to a new study conducted by PNC Bank, 60 percent of people in their twenties feel "overwhelmed" by debt. Student loan debt is a big driver of that concern.
"Too many loans to chip away at. I have quite a few I'm going to start working on," said new UNCC graduate Christopher Lacy.
The survey looked at 2,000 college educated people between ages 20 and 29. The study found that they have anywhere between $12,000 and $78,000 in debt and many are not planning far enough ahead.
"I think what we saw in the survey, everyone's focused on creating short term savings for big ticket items or vacations, but not enough set aside for the long term," said retail market manager at PNC Bank Bill Bunn.
Since they are overwhelmed, many graduates take a wait-and-see approach to debt management.
"I'm going to have to figure it out as I go," Lacy said.
Financial planners recommend young professionals get educated about their financial situation and the resources available to battle it. They say students should tackle high-interest debt first.
"The irony of all this is that they have plenty of the tools at their disposal to manage their money more effectively," said Bunn.
However the first step for many graduates is to find a job.