Debt and consequences

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Young adults are bombarded with credit cards offers — and so many accept that debt is as common as a cell phone. But what do you know about debt and its consequences? Find out.

  1. As a college freshman, you treat your friends to pizza and beverages at a restaurant. You break in your brand-new credit card by charging the meal — exactly $100. Your card charges a 16.99 percent fixed rate. You keep charging stuff, and for the next five years you always run a balance, so you’re always paying interest on that first $100. Finally, five years after the pizza bash, you pay your balance in full. How much did the meal finally cost?




  2. The bankruptcy rate apparently is rising among young people. How long does a bankruptcy remain on your credit record?

    7 years

    10 years


  3. When college students go heavily into debt, how many years, on average, do they delay marriage and parenthood?

    4.7 years

    1.2 years

    They don’t.

  4. You describe yourself as a master of balance transfers, deftly using new credit cards with low teaser rates to pay off high-interest cards. This is a sign of …

    personal financial apocalypse, or at least a likelihood of tough times ahead.

    creativity in action, for you are keeping one step ahead of those darn bill collectors

    your personal financial genius. You’re pitting all those credit card companies against each other! You rule!

  5. Is it better to work your way through college for six years and graduate without any debt, or better to take out student loans and graduate in four years with thousands of dollars in debt?

    Better to work hard, take one’s time, and graduate debt-free.

    Better to get out of college quickly and work full-time in one’s career as soon as possible.

    It doesn’t matter.