Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Credit Cards for Teens?

One of the blogs I check regularly but too infrequently is The Juggle. It is one of the blogs of The Wall Street Journal and focuses on the choices and trade-offs we make between family and career.

A recent post asked "Should Your Teen Have a Credit Card?" The comments alone are worth reading. The post addressed new federal legislation and the topic has been dealt with before. I fall on the side of the best place to teach responsible money management is the home. But I also hear and understand the argument that many parents don't handle credit cards well - why should we expect them to do a good job?

But I have a slightly different question for those of you actually teach financial literacy and money management. Presumably, you know the subject - that's not to say you've not made missteps. No one is alleging infallibility. But since you know the subject and have studied the ins and outs of credit cards, how do you feel about YOUR teen having a credit card? (And I'm particularly interested in teens age 15 to 18. I happen to agree that those aged 18 - 21 are adults and should be expected to accept responsibility for their own actions.) Should younger teens learn about credit at home, in a controlled environment? Or should we teach them, warn them, and wait for them to enter the marketplace on their own, with us prepared to provide some/any sort of safety net? I look forward to your comments.

This post references the following Keystone Economic Principles:
1. We all make choices.
2. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
3. All choices have consequences.

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