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Under 21? No job? No plastic!
Old 06-18-2009, 12:59 PM   #1
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Under 21? No job? No plastic!

Here's one I know is going to get some good responses...

Under 21? No credit card for you - MSN Money

Background: In my state, the age of majority is now 21. That means that except for driving, voting, marriage, jury duty and military service, a "child" is protected by a slew of state (and maybe federal too) Minors Rights Act provisions.
Among these "protections" is the requirement for parent(s) to pay child support until the age of 21 and for parents to assume responsibility for the child's acts until 21, unless the child legally declares him(her)self to be completely independent of their parents.

My opinion: I think this is great and long overdue. Please note that a person under 21 can apply for a card IF they are employed and can show they have sufficient income to cover their credit bills. Plan B - under 21 will need a co-signer in the absence of that proof.

Have at it, folks.
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:50 PM   #2
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Sort of strange. I had already graduated college with a full time job before I was 21. It would certainly have been strange to think of myself as not really an "adult" at age 20. My experience may be slightly atypical but not extremely uncommon.

As a parent, this just added 3 more years to my sentence!

Edit to add: Great! Now the parents have to co-sign on cards for kids under 21. So not only can the kid wreck their own credit, they can wreck their parent's credit too! My thinking goes like this - Responsible kids are generally raised by responsible adults. These kids won't go crazy on credit so the cosigning parents won't get hurt. Irresponsible kids (with respect to spending/credit) are raised by irresponsible adults, who are soon to be burdened with more debt incurred by their spendthrift children who simply MUST have a credit card when they go to college (because everyone one else will have one).

At some point kids may have to learn the credit lesson the hard way (like with investing). Make mistakes when you are young and it is easy and relatively painless to fix. Much better to wrack up $5000 in credit card debt during college and dispose of it (with a little pain) than wracking up $50,000 in debt a few years out of college and suffering under the burden for a while longer.
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:50 PM   #3
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Frankly, as long as people aged 18-20 are judged old enough to carry an M-16 and die for their country, they should receive ALL benefits of full citizenship. And if we don't like that, we should stop sending people under 21 off to war.

Having said that, I think it would be smart for a lender to not give a credit line to a 19-year-old with no income. I don't think it's the government's role to intervene in it, though.
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Old 06-18-2009, 02:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Having said that, I think it would be smart for a lender to not give a credit line to a 19-year-old with no income. I don't think it's the government's role to intervene in it, though.
I could be wrong, but I remember getting credit cards back during college and they had really low limits like $500 or $1000. Maybe $2000-3000 on the high end. And that was with a decent income (for a student) as well. It didn't seem to really be predatory or egregious in terms of how big of a hole a kid could get themselves into.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Frankly, as long as people aged 18-20 are judged old enough to carry an M-16 and die for their country, they should receive ALL benefits of full citizenship. And if we don't like that, we should stop sending people under 21 off to war.
That would severely cut down on the number of wars. By 21 many people have developed a sense of mortality, and the hormones have settled a tiny bit.

Quote:
Having said that, I think it would be smart for a lender to not give a credit line to a 19-year-old with no income. I don't think it's the government's role to intervene in it, though.
I agree, not the government's role. And like any other credit, it should only be available to those who don't need it.
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:55 PM   #6
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That would severely cut down on the number of wars. By 21 many people have developed a sense of mortality, and the hormones have settled a tiny bit.



I agree, not the government's role. And like any other credit, it should only be available to those who don't need it.
Actually the age of the average US service member has increased over the years. Before you just chalk things up as a young person making a choice that you think is wrong.

But yeah if you can go shoot someone for the Us gov'ment. Then yeah full rights at 18
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:46 PM   #7
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I wasn't saying people who enlist are making a wrong choice, just that 18 year olds tend to be a little more impulsive than even 21 year olds.

Other than that, I was talking enlistment age, not average member age. The average (Army) enlistment age is staying pretty stable, but Reserve enlistment age is decreasing fairly significantly. Since the Army has raised the maximum enlistment age from 35 to 42 since 2006 you'd expect the average to increase, at least a little. I'm guessing the recent decrease in age might be due to the job market. Stats from Support Army Recruiting

What is the average enlistment age?
In FY08 the average non-prior service enlistment age was 21 for active Army and 20 for the Army Reserve.

FY 20012002200320042005200620072008
Average Age RA
20.921.221.221.320.821.321.721.3
Average Age AR23.723.322.322.921.020.620.520.4
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:30 PM   #8
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Just an idea--wouldn't it be easier for parents to just give give kids one of their own cards and set guidelines on paying the parents for any purchases?

Our kids didn't have their own credit cards in college--they had one of ours for emergencies (they never ever used them for this) and for flying home when you had to show the card the ticket was charged to. Worked for us.
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:41 AM   #9
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Just an idea--wouldn't it be easier for parents to just give give kids one of their own cards and set guidelines on paying the parents for any purchases?
Or alternatively, the kid could establish their own bank account with a debit card and a very small line of credit. All vendors accept debit cards and it connects the expenditures directly with the account balance.
How that bank account gets "filled" is up to the kid, either through PT employment or "gifts" from relatives.
Responsibility for their own account balance is a great lesson early on. It just might keep the cell phone texting or ringtones or video store megabill a lot smaller.
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