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Heyday On Payday

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Those "wants'' include big-ticket items such as cars and compact disc players. Many kids have even learned to "master the possibilities'' with their own credit cards. This has fueled the charge that working only encourages runaway materialism. It has also prompted sociologist Jerald Bachman to coin the term "premature affluence''--or, more simply, too much money too soon.

Bachman has warned that it may be all glory days for teenagers while they live with and are supported by their parents, but when these big spenders leave home and enter the workforce as adults, they're in for a rude awakening: When rent and utility bills come pouring in, they discover their income is suddenly anything but discretionary.

--M.M.

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