By the time they turn 18, about one in five high school students already has a credit card. And they're not shy about using it. Credit card debt among young people roughly doubled during the 1990s. And so did the number of 18- to 24-year-olds filing bankruptcy.
Federal bankruptcy Judge John Hargrove got tired of seeing bankruptcy filings from such young debtors. So he's giving high school students in San Diego, Calif., a crash course in using credit wisely. Hargrove's program is called CARE, which stands for "Credit Abuse Resistance Education."
"It's not bad to have a credit card. It's just wise to know what you're doing," says bankruptcy attorney Jeffrey Schreiber, who participated in a recent CARE presentation along with Hargrove.