Do experiences trump possessions?
No self-respecting financial professional would advise young adults to rack up credit card debt to purchase the latest shoes, cell phones or iPods. But, using a credit card to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can make you more employable and world-wise could be worth the interest payments.
"For younger people, particularly recent college graduates, it is a wise use of debt to pay living expenses to do time-intensive things such as backpacking in Asia for several months, going on a religious mission trip or working on a poorly-paid artistic or musical project," says Eli Lehrer, national director of the Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate of The Heartland Institute, a national, free-market think tank in Washington, D.C.
"Since time is money, once a person gains career experience and family obligations, the opportunity cost of doing these things (early in life) dwarfs the interest one would pay on a credit card," Lehrer says.