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Credit Card Companies Educating The Youth About Personal Finance

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That title makes me want to puke.  I know that most readers do not want to hear me get on my soap box about why I think using credit cards are a huge financially poor choice, but you have to agree with me that it is a huge conflict of interest for a CREDIT CARD company to be teaching financial education.  Gee, I wonder if they are going to teach kids to use credit carsds and use them frequently?  My guess is that they will pitch them the same garbage that most adults buy into.  Basically, they will teach these kids to worship the credit score.  They will have them so worried about their credit score, that kids will start to worry if their school grades affect their credit score.  Here are some excerpts from the Capital One website about their financial education plans.

This one is called “Stash Your Cash” and it is targeted towards middle schoolers.

“Program Basics

  • The Stash Your Cash workbook and curriculum are available to all middle school students, teachers and parents.
  • Students will learn to set financial goals for the future, budget resources, understand and control debt, and realize the importance of saving for the future.
  • Capital One created the interactive learning module and workbook based on materials developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (used with permission).

As part of this program, Capital One associates will visit several public middle schools throughout D.C. during May and early June to work with students on financial education. They will use a customized, interactive learning module and workbook, encouraging students to

  • set financial goals for the future
  • budget resources
  • understand and control debt
  • realize the importance of saving.

Individual D.C. middle schools will have the opportunity to earn up to $35,000 (based on their participation).”

They make it sound so official and great for your middle school child.  However, the one part that they conveniently slip in there is, “understand and control debt”.  They are not going to teach these students how to STAY OUT OT DEBT or ELIMINATE DEBT if they get into a bunch of debt.  They are going to teach them how to CONTROL IT.  Translation:  They will teach them how to use their credit cards.

The main problem with this is that Capital One is assuming that EVERYONE will be in debt someday.  And they are assuming this, because they WANT this.  If no one had debt right now, Capital One would not exist!  This is a huge conflict of interest, and it needs to be exposed.

Operation Hope is a non-profit movement/organization to broaden financial literacy in the lives of young people.  I know that Operation Hope has great intentions, but the organization is sponsored by Bank of America, US Bank, Citigroup, GE Consumer Finance, and other financial institutions whom rely HEAVILY on people borrrowing money from them.  As soon as I saw Bank of America, I said, “oh boy, this is not good”.  Ironically enough, I use Bank of America for my check account, but it is only because they have so many branches throughout the area that I live.  I think they are one of the worst financial institutions when it comes to looking out for themselves and not their customers.  Plus, their financial products are horrible.  The fact that they still have fee-based checking accounts puts them in the dark ages.

The point is that we need financial education for young people with an unbiased approach.  These financial institutions have an agenda when they sponsor programs like this.  They want to continue to teach people that they will be in debt the rest of their lives, so they might as well figure out how to “control” it.  Is there anyone out there who is on board for taking down corporate America and teaching young people how to “really” manage their money?  Email me or comment on this post.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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