When I graduated high school and picked up my diploma (after the awesome graduation party), I remember that we received several other documents, including a Consumer Fraud pamphlet from Jay Nixon. I kept it, but never read it. This was highly stupid of me.
About 18 months after I graduated, I was dating Brian and somehow he convinced me that we should go to a few auto dealerships and try to take a loan out for a vehicle for me. First, it was for a red Mustang. Denied. Then to the local Dodge dealership for a 2003 Neon. We spent FIVE hours waiting to hear that we were approved, and it was through second chance financing. The following week, after my Dad intervenes and gets the loan moved over to our credit union (and with a significantly lower interest rate), I find out that my credit had been run by 13 different banks before it was approved.
That's only the beginning. After the car, Brian and I got a Best Buy credit card, which came with a MasterCard. I realized that we could get lots of cool stuff and make payments. So then I had an Old Navy card, and then my Visa (which I had since high school but never used) made it's way to becoming maxed out. Then a loan from my bank for deposits for an apartment for him and I. It only took a couple months for me to realize that there was no way I could make all the minimum payments, plus the car payment, and other expenses with our incomes combined.
I had put myself into credit card debt. I say myself because it was my credit that was run for everything; Brian's credit was already bad. So who's responsible for paying of the debt? Me. However, when going through the divorce, it was stated that Brian was to assume responsibility for all debt occurred during our 4 1/2 year relationship. Of course, Brian hasn't done anything about it. But, with the wonderful returns I have been getting when filing taxes, I have been paying off those debts. I only have the Best Buy credit card left to pay off before I am debt free. However, my credit still sucks.
Now I wish that I had read that pamphlet from high school and I would have asked my Dad about credit cards before I got into that cluster fuck of a mess. I could actually have money saved up toward a new car or something with all the money I've had to invest in to keep myself out of financial trouble. If I could give anyone advice about debt... the more you know about how to prevent it, the better off you will be for the rest of your life.