Financial Literacy - Credit savvy
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Americans dislike credit cards

"The young folks are looking at this in a very shortsighted way. They see it as a way to get what they want and get it now. So that is why the much larger percentage disagree it's not too easy -- it's something they deserve. This just makes it happen," he says.

The consumer bailout

The next question reveals the younger generation's bias more startlingly. Asked whether taxpayers should bail out consumers who find themselves in a big financial bind due to credit card debt, 18- to 24-year-olds answered affirmatively in large numbers.

Thirty-five percent of the younger generation agreed with a bailout solution. Overall, for all age groups, 79 percent disagreed.

Most disagree on a bailout solution ...
Taxpayers should bail out consumers who find themselves in a big financial bind due to credit card debtTotal18-24
year olds
Strongly or somewhat agree21%35%
Strongly or somewhat disagree79%65%

"I'm incredibly disturbed that such a high percentage of the 18- to 24-year-olds agree," says Peterson. "The most significant thing about this is that 18- to 24-year-olds do not take personal responsibility for their actions," he says.

Bill Hardekopf, CEO of Lowcards.com, concurs with that assessment.

"Maybe we've spoiled them too much. Older people feel, 'You've made your bed, you have to sleep in it.' And kids may feel like, 'Hey Mom and Dad, you've always bailed me out. How come someone else won't?'" he says.

Bucci casts a different spin altogether and postulates that the varied responses could have more to do to with time spent in the working world.

"When you get into the workplace and start earning money you say, 'Well, I pay my bills. Why can't other people pay their bills?'" Bucci says.

Do you even have a credit card?

While they have plenty of against-the-grain opinions, most 18- to 24-year-olds don't have credit cards. Fifty-four percent say they don't currently have any plastic. Credit card use goes up with age, though. Only 16 percent of people 65 and older say they don't have a credit card.

Most Americans rely on plastic
Do you have any credit cards?Total18-2425-3435-4950-6465+
Yes72%46%67%35%76%84%
No28%54%31%24%25%16%

"The older you are, the more likely you are to have a credit card," says Hardekopf.

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Credit card use also increases with income; 93 percent of those who earn more than $75,000 a year report having a credit card, compared to 46 percent of those earning less than $20,000 a year.

"I was a little surprised by the income breakout. People who make less than $30,000 a year, only half of them have a credit card. I guess people who have a lower income might not have qualified for a credit card," says Hardekopf.

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