Teen Beat

A 1962 Collector magazine article examined the pros and cons of extending credit to teenagers.

4/24/2019 2:00 PM

NewsCollector Magazine
Teen Beat

Teaching teenagers to manage their money wisely can be a daunting task for many parents.

There was a time when these issues were unimaginable, as very few young adults had access to their own lines of credit. The April 1962 Collector article “Teenage Credit: Is it Worth It?” considered whether creditors should extend credit to teenagers and whether parents believed that such a decision was wise.

Managing Editor Anne Rosso May reported on the 1962 article in Collector magazine’s “Time Capsule” features in 2008.

“By offering credit accounts to the teen market, which by and large has worked satisfactorily, the retailer also has his eye on the teenager as a potential housewife or homeowner in just a few short years,” the 1962 article noted. “But in spite of the profitable and enthusiastic relationship between teenagers and creditors (some retailers claim teen accounts pay more dependably than their parents), there are some questions raised by parents and the creditors themselves.

For the parent: Does it help my child?

For the creditor: Is it worth it?"

According to the article, while many creditors limited what teenagers could spend on their accounts—for instance, $25, which was repayable at $1 a week—many parents still felt that teens were learning more about spending rather than money management. “Perhaps,” the article suggested, “this is because accounts are usually revolving, and when part of a debt is paid, the teenager can charge more up to the agreed limit.”

Read more on the historic pros and cons of extending credit to teenagers in Collector magazine’s Time Capsule.

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