In your early 20s — especially during college — chances are you made some pretty obvious financial mistakes. Perhaps you bought a new wardrobe on your credit card or booked a spring break trip with student loan money. Then you got older and wondered WTF you were thinking. Credit Karma calls this phenomenon a “credit fumble,” a behavioral cycle where young consumers make largely avoidable financial mistakes. The company recently released survey data about the specifics of those fumbles, and they’re a bit depressing.
Credit Karma found in its survey of 1,051 Americans ages 31 to 44 that more than two-thirds of people had made at least one major credit mistake before turning 30. This involved anything from overspending on credit cards or missing payments to having an account sent to collections or defaulting on a loan. Three out of four said the financial mistakes they made before age 30 had a negative impact on their quality of life (check out apps like Qapital that can help with your finances!)
A big reason for credit fumbles seems to be a lack of financial education. Only 28 percent of people surveyed received some type of personal finance education before college, with the majority of that education (58 percent) coming from their parents. And credit cards were put into innocent hands: More than two-thirds of people surveyed (69 percent) said they didn’t understand what credit scores were when they got their first credit card (yikes!), and 73 percent said that better financial education could have prevented them from making credit-related mistakes.
Unfortunately, some of these credit fumbles in early adulthood have had lasting effects: 61 percent of the people surveyed said they were turned down for a credit card because of the fumble, 28 percent are still paying off credit card debt they racked up before age 30 and more than a quarter of them had to move back in with their parents just to recover financially. This explains all those Credit Karma commercials about how annoying it is to live with your parents.
“Credit Karma’s Credit Fumble research quantifies a phenomenon that’s played out for too long in America, with young adults making unnecessary mistakes without the right financial education that have a big impact on their lives,” says Credit Karma CEO and Founder Kenneth Lin. “These early mistakes can have a lingering impact on the quality of people’s lives and we feel that with better, targeted education and learning tools for new-to-credit consumers, this cycle can be broken.”
All this talk kinda makes you want to renew that New Year’s resolution to get your finances together, huh?
Did you make financial mistakes in your 20s? Share yours @BritandCo.
(Photos via Credit Karma + Getty)