A credit card doesn’t give you status — it only gives you debt, and debt, like illness, is egalitarian (if anything, both show a preference for the poor). Debt also doesn’t make you an adult — you’re already there. Debt will only make it more difficult as you begin your adult life.
If you have student loans, think of them as investments rather than as debts. Although you owe money, you at least have some control over the returns you can get from investing that money in yourself.
Debts create responsibilities and costs, but they should never be a matter of life or death. For some, however, the shame of incurring huge debts can overwhelm their sense of proportion and their sense of self-worth. A 60 Minutes II feature on credit cards at universities discussed the pressures on students to seek a bail-out from their parents and cited a case in which a heavily indebted student took her own life.
You deserve better, and so do the people who care about you.
• Try to pay your expenses with cash, checks or debit cards
• Don’t use credit cards
• If you use a charge card, pay on time
• If the charge-card company offers you a credit card, take a pass