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Millennials Say No to Credit Card Debt

© @frankieleon on flickr
© @frankieleon on flickr
Because of the college tuition debt they have shouldered, many Millennials are wary of credit card debt.

Fewer than a third of Millennials -- anyone between age 18 and 35 -- have a credit card. That's a record low percentage, according to recent statistics.

Stefanie O’Connell, who graduated from New York University with a degree in drama and big debt, understands the problem. With few job opportunities, she found a completely different career path: financial expert.

Millennial debt

Through her wealth management blog, O'Connell has discovered many Millennials are just like her.

Many younger people are resisting the temptation that credit cards offer to spend beyond one’s means, she said.

"They're wary of tools like credit cards,” she explained. "They're wary of taking any kind of risk, even if it is a smart risk, like investing."

O’Connell sees among her blog readers what the Federal Reserve reports from its data: The percentage of Americans younger than 35 with credit card debt has fallen to its lowest level since 1989, when the Fed began collecting standardized data, according to the New York Times.

Credit cards are an integral part of the U.S. financial system.

Credit expert Adam Levin said they're frequently necessary for young people to purchase many services and goods that make their life easier and help the economy grow.

Building a credit history allows someone to borrow money at a better credit rate for a car or house.

"It's critically important for a young person to build credit, to build strong credit,” Levin said. “It doesn't mean that you overcredit yourself, but it means that you are wise about your credit, you are a responsible payer, and you don't get yourself in over your head."

Financial technology

Technology has developed tools that help the Millennials manage personal finances and plan budgets. Level Money is an example.

After the user adds bank and other credit card account information to this app, it calculates income and bills. It presents the user with available cash to spend and how much to save.

These apps act as an online adviser, O'Connell said. The apps help users make better spending decisions and avoid spending habits that may result in deep debt.

The growing trend shows Millennials build credit while living within their means.

This story was first reported by Faiza Elmasry of