Debt and the kids

If I ever have children, one of the most important lessons I want to teach them is responsible debt management skills. My generation faces crushing debt loads, crippling interest rates and late fees, and deceptive practices from the agencies that we trust to “counsel” us.

Banks and other credit issuers pay colleges big bucks for the right to market to teenagers, and they send offer after offer for new cards to people with proven bad credit, and then they turn around and rail against debtors for being “irresponsible” and petition Congress to tighten consumer bankruptcy laws.

The trick is to teach kids to use credit responsibly without outright forbidding the use of credit cards. Teaching them how to build a good credit rating while still staying on top of their bills is an important skill, but that’s a hard balance for adults to manage, let alone for teenagers to understand.


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