Youth indebtedness on the rise

Home Archived Opinion Youth indebtedness on the rise

Sahara Locke

Published: November 8, 2006

According to a study provided by Debtsmart.com, more than 83 percent of undergraduate students have at least one credit card. The average student credit card balance is $2,347.

That is a statement that perhaps would not have been proven true by the same teenagers’ parents and grandparents in their day but hasnow made its way to the heart of the present day.

In today’s society, the reality is with all the glitz and glamour of shiny plastic cards, buy-now pay-later dream offers, HiFi televisions, surround sound speakers and bright shining jewelry; the ever-present American will to “buy what I want when I want it,” isn’t always superseded by practical better judgment.

One reason to blame for the swipe-happy aspect of the buying-more-than-one-can-chew factor is that some credit card companies purposely target the 16- to 25-year-old age group. According to a statement made by the Consumer Credit Counseling Report, card companies have a higher marketing effort to target young adults because they know parents are still helping.

Oftentimes when youth are unable to pay the unintentionally incurred high credit bills, the parents are there to help take it on.

Some are as young as high school sophomores when they receive their first credit card.  These bright, intelligent young people often fall victim to their own innocence and to the unseen.

The fact is, when students receive these cards they are often unaware of hidden penalties and unreasonably high interest rates that can be incurred if they don’t pay off the balance¬† each month.

Compulsive spending also plays a part in the dilemma. No matter how old one grows to be, that childlike reflex to want something just because it’s cute or shiny or big and noisy never quite dissipates.

Young people are spending more now than ever, and are consequently incurring the debt that accompanies such free spirited money waving. Education and self-discipline are the only outs for such cases, but that depends solely on how quickly today’s young people want to close the debt gap.

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