It’s Grad season again and this year, around 400,000 teenagers will graduate high school. According to Stats Can, there are over 2.1 million kids aged 15 to 19 and 2.5 million aged 20 to 24. But only one or two of those millions matter: Your son, daughter or grandkids.
The good news is that you can rest easy knowing their Grade 12 math taught them to solve trigonometric equations and to graph exponential functions. The bad news: They have no clue about overdrafts, the rule of 72, buying a vehicle, their first credit card, how to budget, manage money, the minefield of student loans or any other financing or investing.
If you’re between the ages of 17 to 21 or so, or have a son or daughter that age group, banks, car dealers, and especially credit card companies are salivating to meet them.
Those companies will do whatever it takes to get their business. Banks, and especially credit card companies, have THE best marketing minds in the country and want your teenager in debt to them – really soon and really deep.
We have a huge emotional attachment to our first credit card. It’s the reason they’ll do whatever it takes to be front and center in your teenager’s wallet. Once they’re first, they own you, and the memories and loyalties are way bigger than the teenager’s first boyfriend or girlfriend – and last a lot longer.
On average, we keep our first credit card for over 15 years. It doesn’t matter that the rate hasn’t been competitive for years, that the perks are junk, or the fees they add on. For this group, the default rates are below average because, in most cases, parents will step in and pay the balance, or at least make the payments.
Why do they target your age group? Because they can’t market much to your parents. Adults already have all the credit cards they need or want. So they can’t grow their business unless they get to you. It’s millions of fresh customers, and bonus: You don’t know squat about credit and the dangers of credit cards, but you do love to impulse buy.