I don’t always understand the logic of today’s youth. They get out on their own, out from underneath mom and dad’s wings and they feel they have to have everything their parents have right away.
A new car, fancy apartment, buying stuff on eBay, going out to eat all the time… the list goes on. The credit card companies help them to accomplish this. The problem is that most young people lack the foresight to see the consequences of living beyond their means.
They want large televisions, the fastest new computers, the fanciest cell phones, new cars, and of course have to have high speed Internet and cable TV.
The problem is, they can’t afford this type of lifestyle. However, that doesn’t seem to stop them. “Just put it on credit,” seems to be the motto.
Take Dell for example who frequently advertises that you can have a new computer for as little as $20 – $30 a month. This is true in part but what is not revealed is that the $20 – $30 one pays monthly does not touch the actual balance owed on that computer. In fact, it often does not even cover all the interest earned that period. The result – a debt that continues to grow thanks to finance charges.
I was originally on my own at seventeen, mostly because my behavior no longer allowed me to live at home. That lasted all but about four months and I was back under my parents’ roof. I finally moved out for good at the age of twenty-one.
Initially I lived with three other roommates in a four bedroom house. Then I moved into a two bedroom apartment with one roommate and finally, a year before I was married, I lived in a nice one bedroom apartment by myself.
During all of this time, I lived within my means. I did not have credit cards or lines of credit so I had to live on a budget. No new car – but rather a 1968 Thunderbird which was paid for. No cable television – in fact no television period. No going out to eat all the time – I couldn’t afford it. In fact, I remember taking a calculator to the food store with me so I wouldn’t overspend. And while I did not have everything my parents had, I was happy. I had no debt.
Today, it is not surprising to see kids move out on their own and incur extreme amounts of debt, with nothing tangible to show for it. I know this to be true as my two oldest children have found themselves in this scenario.
We did not raise them to live on credit but with the allure of credit cards and offers like “anyone can own a new car no matter how bad your credit is,” it is just too tempting for young people. Where me and my wife did not even have our first credit card until we were in out late twenties and that due to the fact that we had to replace our old washer and dryer, many young people today get them when they move out if not before and begin the cycle of incurring debt.
How I wish it was against the law for credit card companies to issue credit cards to anyone under the age of twenty-five. I can only hope that my youngest who still lives with us will learn from her brother and sister’s mistakes.
If only young people could only remember that in most cases, it took years for their parents to get to a place where they had a comfortable lifestyle. If they could keep this in mind then maybe, just maybe they would have the patience to wait for their time to come as opposed to trying to speed up the process with money they don’t have and can’t pay back.