Teens and Credit Card Debt: Problem and Solutions

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Teens spend an estimated $141 billion ever year on consumer goods, and that makes them a prime target for credit card companies looking to be the first to put plastic in their eager hands. But if your teen isn't properly prepared to spend responsibly, they could be headed for years of financial difficulty.

Credit card debt can lead to:

  • Lost buying power because of a maxed out limit
  • Accumulated interest payments that prevent you from paying bills
  • Lost borrowing power due to lower credit scores
  • ID theft and unauthorized purchases can go unnoticed

    Local financial counselor Tony Walker and Service One Credit Union marketer Tabitha Gay recommend you and your teen sit down before you ever co-sign for a card, and examine the following:

    1.) How much money do you have each month after subtracting monthly and yearly expenses from your after-tax income?
    2.) What should a credit card be used for? (emergency situations, mom/dad-authorized purchases only)
    3.)How do you and your teen keep track of their credit spending?(dual copies of bills and credit statements, mom/dad must sign off every month)

    With these answers, you can set your teen up for responsible spending, and some valuable financial experience before they ever leave home.

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