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Before you send your child off to the mall with a credit card, read this.
High school students are graduating without knowing how to balance a checkbook, how to live within their means, or how to save for the future. Why? Because no one is teaching them! You can't graduate without knowing what an amoeba is, but the basic life skill of how to handle money is not required. This is absolutely insane!
Credit card companies aren't just going after college students anymore; high school students are the new target. According to Norma Mendoza, a researcher at the University of Arkansas, several studies found that patterns of compulsive buying start during adolescence. Teens are the perfect vulnerable audience for credit card companies to sink their claws into.
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Reality Sets In
This is the reality of many teens in your households, schools, churches, and communities:*
- 31% of students don't worry about their debt
- 6.9% of high school seniors scored a grade of "C" or higher in a 2005 financial literacy survey
- 74% of college students owned at least one credit card
- 19% of young adults admit having their phones, cable, or utilities cut off because they didn't pay their bills
- 15% of young adults have had their credit revoked
After high school, most teens head to college and are approached with credit card offers the moment they set foot on campus. More and more, the credit card companies are willing to open a line of credit for teens without any credit history or employment. We as parents, teachers and community leaders have got to do something about this!
Easy and Effective Ways You Can Help
Dave's new high school curriculum, Foundations in Personal Finance, engages teens with relevant and interactive lessons about how to manage their money so they'll actually have more. If you're a parent, ask your school board to purchase the curriculum and implement it within your school system.
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Unfortunately some schools don't have room in their already tight budgets to buy this material for their students. If that's the case, ask your company to sponsor the curriculum for your local high school. Whether the company is large or small, this is an excellent opportunity for workplaces to get involved with their community and a great way to make a positive impact for the future.
Learn more about Foundations in Personal Finance.
* Stat sources from CardTrack.com, Nellie Mae 2005 study, Courier Post Online, Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Education