Love of credit is hurting

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 8, 2001

The United States is a country in love with credit.

Monday, June 11, 2001

The United States is a country in love with credit. And apparently the example adults are setting with their credit card purchases is beginning to quickly rub off on younger people.

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It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that the fastest growing age group opting for bankruptcy is young people in their late teens and early 20s, according to lawyers and counselors throughout the country.

This trend of young people starting out their professional lives in credit card debt is frightening and needs to be righted.

At fault, of course, are the ones making the purchases, but also parents and finally the institutions that make getting credit cards easy and painless.

There was a day when applying for and receiving credit card approval was a tough deal, not anymore. College campuses are filled with lending institutions pitching this credit card here and another over there.

The result is a generation growing up addicted to credit card purchases without understanding how to manage personal finances and the impact of interest.

According to the Consumer Federation of America, the average college graduate has two credit cards and is carrying an average balance of $2,500 on each of them. Nationwide the country carries about 1.5 billion credit cards with an outstanding debt of $560 billion. Those are big numbers that carry damaging consequences if a slowdown doesn’t occur.

So what needs to occur? America needs to get tough on credit cards and that means education and probably some regulatory control.

Education calls for schools and parents to get involved in teaching children the basics of sound money management. The government unfortunately needs to get involved to protect those who can’t protect themselves.

If we don’t start today, the damage of credit card addiction will only compound in future generations.