Credit Card Debt Is ‘Empowering’ to Young Folks


Crazy kids! Instead of being appropriately bewildered and concerned by credit card and education debts, young adults are feeling “empowered” by what they owe, according to a new study from Ohio State University. In fact, the more credit card and college loan debt they have, the better these incorrigible youngsters feel about themselves! Once they get to be a little older, however, say 28 to 34, they start getting stressed. As the scientists behind the study point out, credit card debt might be helping people feel good because they’re not thinking about their debt at all but instead are thinking about what they can get with their credit cards — a/k/a instant gratification. It’s hard to compete with that.

Those “in the bottom 25 percent in total family income” got the most positive impact, self-esteem wise, from debt, both educational and credit card, while those in the middle class had no impact to their self-esteem based on educational debt, but did get a boost with credit card debt. The richest kids of all got “no boost at all” from holding debt, proving that rich kids stink.

At the end of the day, of course, the credit card companies generally have the last laugh, and by their 30s these debt-happy kids may be feeling significantly less positive about what they have to pay off. So, tread carefully, young people!

“Debt may make young people feel better about themselves in the short-term, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have negative consequences in the long term,” said lead study author Rachel Dwyer, who sounds shockingly like our own mother.

What, Me Worry? Young Adults Get Self-Esteem Boost from Debt [Newswise]