Young Borrowers Buried in Debt

Study finds young people are quick to borrow, slow to pay

Brian Mooney walks across campus at San Diego State University. He says it's expensive to be a college student, but some students make it even harder by maxing out their credit cards.

"It is a slippery slope," said Mooney. "You start to take out a little bit for what you need, then you start getting what you want."

According to a recent study by Ohio State University, younger Americans are in substantially more debt than previous generations.  The study says people born between 1980 and 1984 are carrying credit card debt on average $5,6890 more than their parents did at the same age, and $8,156 more than their grandparents.

"Young people grow up thinking that a credit card doesn't have to be paid, ever," said Lou Murillo with SDSU. 

Murillo is part of a program that teaches financial literacy to high school students. But he says everyone with a credit card needs to learn some valuable lessons.

"There's a distinction between what you need and what you want," said Murillo. "Because what you want is always much more enticing."

College Student Christina Blackwell says she gets credit card offers in the mail all the time. Charles Njoku is a college junior and says credit cards are a real temptation for people his age.

"When you have so many credit cards," said Njoku. "It is a lot easier for you to get in debt."

Not only are young people quicker to get into debt but they are slower to pay it off.

"If you have a credit card or debit card, it's easier to spend you money fast," said Maria Cavataio.

The Ohio study says younger generations may continue to add credit card debt into their 70's and die owning money on their cards.

But Sydney Turner says you simply have to say no. "Don't eat out, don't drive places," said Turner, "really focus on your education."

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