Meet Clive Clueless, a sophomore in college, who has made it his life’s goal to climb the Seven Summits (the highest mountains on each of the seven continents). At 20, he’s already checked Kilimanjaro off his list. And he’s slated to climb Aconcagua—the tallest peak in the Andes range in South America—next summer. Unfortunately, Clive Clueless has spent more time surfing climber websites than listening to Mr. Boggs, his financial literacy teacher.
Several years ago when Clive Clueless was still in high school, credit card companies started sending him lots of offers in the mail. These companies are well aware that in his lifetime, Clive Clueless will spend a couple of million dollars, and they want him to spend it using their credit card so they get to earn fees and interest on it. After a few years of using the postage-paid return envelopes the credit card companies provided to send them all the other junk mail his family got each day (har har), Clive Clueless finally decided to get a credit card; after all, four out of five undergraduates use credit cards. And the majority of American adults carry them. Even his parents agreed it would be good for him to build a credit history and learn about “financial responsibility.”