Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The ever present credit card

I was recently asked if I thought credit cards should be banned. Wow... I never even thought of it.

What good would banning credit cards do? The problem isn't the availability of credit, it's the lack of self discipline and responsibility that allows abuse of a credit card.

And who would ban them? Should the government be responsible for parenting the entire population of the US??

Some people just have trouble controlling their spending and if they don't have credit cards, what are they going to do? I'll tell you what they do. They overdraw their checking accounts. They borrow money from family and friends. They get advances on their paychecks.

So maybe the government should require basic financial responsibility courses in high school. D'ya think it would ever fly??


  1. So the government should save us from ourselves? Because they are such a paragon of efficiency and competence? Sorry, preaching to the choir here I know.:)

    Even a lesson as simple as budgeting and living within your means in schools could do wonders. Fantastic idea! No one ever talked to me about any of those things as a teenager. My Dad, though frugal and financially wise, never really passed on the things he already knew. I think he assumed I would just follow his example, but I really needed to be told. You don't automatically understand compound interest and the slavery of debt just because your parents pay their bills on time. I got my first credit card at 18 and sadly, it was downhill from there:)

    If I had to learn the hard way, with a good example, what happens to kids who don't even have a good example? At least when I got my act together, I already knew what a frugal and simple lifestyle looked like.

    Thanks, Pat. As always, you give me much to think about. God Bless you:)

  2. Well said, Jayne, thanks. Another thought about teaching kids about money in school, though: These are government run schools... do we really want the government teaching our kids how to handle money??? :)

    I'm being facetious. Surely someone somewhere has the sense to write a curriculum that covers basic money sense.

  3. I questioned a high school counselor about this very thing a few years ago. I was very surprised to find out classes in budgeting, etc were offered but ONLY to those in general or special education classes. Seems those in charge of curriculum felt anyone in the business or college programs didn't need these classes because they 'would get it' by themselves.

  4. That doesn't make a bit of sense to me. You're supposed to just absorb it through your skin?

  5. Wow! In our rural area of Oklahoma, fiscal matters are taught in what used to be called home ec but is now domestic engineering or some such. The daughter of a friend, an R.N., teaches in a local highschool and says this is a popular segment of her course work, and that she has both male and female students for that segment. -- Budgeting, check book, use of credit, etc.

    Mo in Oklahoma

  6. I think there should be laws that make it illegal for credit card companies to target anyone under the age of 30. If that sounds too extreme, then the law should be that if you are under 25 your MAX credit card limit on all cards combined should be no more than $2000, and at age 30 that could increase to a MAX of $5000.

    There is NO reason that kids/young adults under 30 need $30,000 in credit card limits, and YES it does happen, it happened to me.

    Before you criticize me, YES I do make my payments, but it will be years before I can get my debt paid off.

    I didn't need 90% of the stuff I purchased on my credit cards, it was just the novelty of getting what I wanted, when I wanted it.

    I was brought up in a home w/ a limited income, my dad did use a credit card from time to time. We were taught how to manage bills, we weren't given anything, we earned money working on the farm.

    It's just when you get out in the real world, as a college kid you think you are invincible. I learned the hard way, I wish the credit cards weren't made available to me so easily!


  7. FYI--I graduated from a public high school in Missouri 5 years ago and was the second graduating class required to take a personal finance course. While it was mostly centered around personal finance and budgeting, we also explored career options. I can't remember many details of this class, but it was a graduation requirement. I'm not sure if it was a state law or something that our district decided to implement.

    Another thing--I would cry if credit cards were illegal! I pay my balance off every month and earn around $200 a year in gift cards that I usually use to buy Christmas gifts. I don't think my high school class taught me to live within my means, though. I was fortunate enough to be taught by my mom from an early age.

  8. Oh how I wish the public schools would teach practical math instead of just the same old same old. Teens can graduate from high school knowing how to add jibbles and dribbles (squiggly lines) but not know how to balance a check book or even the value of a dollar! Now I in all my 50 years have never had to add a jibble or a dribble but I have had to learn how to balance a check book! When young ones think that $2.99 for a smoothie at their local fast food joint is a bargain you now somethings wrong!!