Interesting how the greed of credit-card companies has undermined their future
Credit-card companies pushed Congress (by using campaign contributions, and please do not call them “bribes”) to make personal bankruptcy extremely difficult so that people could not escape credit-card debt (despite the fact that the default rate was pretty low). And colleges raised tuition and fees much more rapidly than inflation (hiring boatloads of administrators) while cutting scholarships and grants, but offering lots of loans, and many students used those to get an education, only to realized later that they were saddled with crushing debt—and bankruptcy did not offer an out. And state student loan agencies can be debt shark—see what New Jersey, home of the Mob, does.
The result has been young people growing up as they watch their parents, older siblings, and others suffering from trying to pay off enormous debts. Naturally enough, they want no part of that, just as children growing up watching lives wrecked, ruined, and ended by drug addiction tend to avoid drugs as best they can.
Nathaniel Popper writes in the NY Times:
Kids these days: They just aren’t pulling out the plastic like they did in the past.
Data from the Federal Reserve indicates that the percentage of Americans under 35 who hold credit card debt has fallen to its lowest level since 1989, when the Fed began collecting data in a standardized way, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
Some older Americans have also been shedding credit card debt since the financial crisis that began in 2008. But for no other age group has the decline in the proportion holding credit card debt been more rapid than it has been for young Americans — who are often referred to as millennials — the data from the Survey of Consumer Finances shows.
“It’s pretty clear that young people are not interested in becoming indebted in the way that their parents are or were,” said David Robertson, the publisher of The Nilson Report, a newsletter that tracks the payment industry.
Their reluctance could have lasting repercussions for millennials, as well as for the financial system and the economy. Early use of credit cards has, in the past, helped young Americans develop a comfort level with credit that can last a lifetime and lead to a succession of big purchases financed by debt. Without a substantial credit history, it is much harder to take out a home mortgage, for example.
“It will probably take them longer to get access to credit,” said Gregory Elliehausen, an economist at the Federal Reserve specializing in consumer finance. “In the meantime, their behavior and some of their habits will have already been formed.”
Over all, Americans’ use of credit cards has recently been creeping up again: Household debt in the United States increased by $35 billion, to $12.29 trillion, during the second quarter of 2016, a 0.3 percent rise from the previous quarter that was driven by credit cards and auto loans, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
But many younger people have been sitting on the sidelines, deterred by new laws passed after the crisis and big loads of student debt. They are also spooked by the temptation that credit cards offer to spend beyond one’s means. . .
The links at the article are quite interesting as well.