1 min read

Age of Responsibility

I am getting sick of hearing this sort of thing:

Legislation passed this year will require that when banks issue a credit card to someone under 21, a parent or guardian must co-sign and have joint liability.

via The ‘Democratization of Credit’ Is Over — Now It’s Payback Time — WSJ.com.

As a society, we are expecting less and less of young adults until a later and later age. This behavior creates so many problems. In this specfic case, what happens when you don’t have a parent or guardian( in f act, I thought that after you turn 18, you are legally responsible for yourself, but i guess I was wrong)? Many 18 year olds live alone, and this law will prevent them from accessing credit. As I have mentioned before, appropriately managed credit can make a huge different in your financial life.

The answer to misuse of cards isn’t regulation, its education. I have worked teaching financial literacy and basic personal finance to high school and college students for several eyars, and it amazes me how little many people know about compound interest, common bank account, credit card, and debit card policies at the start. You can’t force someone to live responsibly, and delaying the date someone deals with credit won’t help either.

It’s time we started asking more of one another and helped one another to deliver on that expectation. Instead of legislating responsibilities like using credit, alcohol, and automobiles to older and older ages, we need to empower people to use them responsibly at earlier ages. You can bring a college student to a bar, but you can’t make them drink (though that’s usually not a problem). If you bring them to the bank with some knowledge of how credit works, they will have no one to blame but themselves if they do wrong.

I’m all for second chances, but we all need to learn to live with consequences of the choices we make — because big brother won’t always be there to stop someone from being stupid.