Monday, January 14, 2008

Kids and Money

In Nashville, Tennessee they're having kids take personal finance classes. While the article doesn't go into much detail, it could be an excellent idea.

I'm particularly concerned about how kids deal with credit cards. At night, I teach college classes, and the credit folks are standing outside the college, in the student union, and in the cafeteria handing out applications like they're candy. They give free t-shirts, water bottles, and other inconsequential goodies to anyone who signs their forms.

My classroom has a bulletin board on the side, and credit applications hang there by the dozens, stapled over one another.

I remember when I got my first credit card. I was working one job, I foolishly ran it up and couldn't pay it off till I was working two jobs. That frightened me enough to start paying my bills in full each month, and not spending more than I could realistically handle.

New college kids, though, are not that much more mature than they were when they were in high school. I regularly read of such kids running up tens of thousands in debt, and sometimes committing suicide rather than dealing with the debts. While it may be profitable for credit card companies to saddle our children with debt early, we'd damn well better warn them about it.

Classes like these, if done well, could be a good start.
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