A recent report out of Costa Rica demonstrated the breadth of the economic impact stemming from a lack of adequate education regarding the use — or, perhaps more accurately, misuse — of credit cards, with the debt of Costa Ricans being equivalent to 3.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The country’s deputy minister of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC), suggested that a lack of financial education focusing specifically on the use of credit cards may be part of the reason why Costa Ricans have taken on so much credit card debt in such a short period of time.
Luke Weil, an expert in economics, has been a longtime advocate for more extensive financial education programs across all ages and at all levels of schooling. It’s not difficult to understand why those who have not had the benefit of previous experience or education on matters of finance would not immediately recognize the adverse impact generated when one allows credit card debt to quickly accumulate, which is why so many finance experts have called for the expansion of education programs wherever possible.It’s clear that educational programs concerning basic financial issues are needed both at home and abroad, and most experts agree that these programs would be beneficial regardless of geography or demography. In Costa Rica and the United States alike, the widespread availability of educational programs would promote more responsible spending and saving while generating an endlessly positive overall economic impact.