Cookies and Credit: The Girl Scouts’ Good Credit Badge Isn’t Sugary Sweet

For years, we’ve been fighting the myth that debt is just a part of life.

It’s no surprise that credit card companies promote that message every day. And it’s no surprise that car dealers and financial aid offices believe debt makes the world go round.

After all, they’re businesses. And the longer they keep you in debt, the more money they make. That’s their motivation.

But call us shocked to find out that the Girl Scouts teach this myth. The Good Credit badge is designed to teach young girls the importance of building up their credit.

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The Girl Scout website explains the badge this way:

“It's almost impossible to go through life without borrowing money. Whether it's something as basic as using a credit card or a more complex situation like a home mortgage or a small business loan, our economic system revolves around borrowing. And to borrow successfully, you need to have good credit. By completing this badge, you will know what it takes to keep good credit and borrow money smartly, including how to pay back what you owe in time—skills that will help you throughout life.”

They follow up that nonsense with more nonsense in the form of action points:

  1. Get the scoop on credit scores.
  2. Find out how bank loans work.
  3. Learn the ins and outs of credit cards.
  4. Gather real-life borrowing stories.
  5. Write your own credit commitment.

Three words for the Girl Scouts organization: Are you serious? Do we really want to teach our kids how important it is to be imprisoned by debt?

If you’re a parent of a Girl Scout and you want to help your child “gather real-life borrowing stories” to complete the fourth step listed above, we can help you out.

Listen to the callers who call in to The Dave Ramsey Show every day—people who are beaten down and tired of living under the weight of tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Read success stories on our site about people who got sick and tired of a lifestyle of debt and focused everything they had on getting out.

Debt is not a way of life, unless you want your life to be burdened with stress as you struggle under the thumb of the credit card companies.

Rachel Cruze speaks about debt to students all across the country, and she's passionate about teaching them a healthy way to manage money. "It's unbelievable how early companies start feeding kids the lie that you have to 'build your credit,'" she said. "You can exist in life without a credit score. It is possible to go to college and own things like a car and house without going into debt."

Rachel adds, "But instead of teaching kids how to save and spend wisely, they're teaching them how to make the most of borrowing other people's money. We need to provide kids with a message of hope and encouragement--one that tells them they can live their life debt-free."

It’s our job as responsible adults to teach our kids the best ways to manage money. Instead of teaching them how to build debt, we need to teach them how to build wealth. The Girl Scouts teach a lot of useful information about financial literacy—budgeting, for example—but they are way off base on this one.

What are your thoughts on the Girl Scouts’ Good Credit badge?
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