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Money troubles start young.

Author offers basics on how to stay out of debt, build savings

Bankruptcies filed by people under age 25 soared almost 100 percent nationwide from 1991 to 1999. And by graduation day, nearly 10 percent of college students have saddled themselves with at least $7,000 in credit card debt.

Those gruesome statistics reflect the fact that young people learn little at home or school about managing their financial lives, according to Dara Duguay, author of a newly published book called “Don’t Spend Your Raise and 59 Other Money Rules You Can’t Afford to Break.”

Duguay, who admits to nearly drowning in credit card debt as a young adult as she tried to spend her way to happiness, wanted to write an easy-to-follow survival guide to help the younger set get started on the right financial foot. But just about anyone can benefit from following her simple rules, she says.

Duguay (pronounced DOO-gae) says the one money rule no one should break is rule No. 33 in her book, “Never have more than two credit cards.”

“Credit is something that gets so many people into trouble,” Duguay said in a recent telephone interview. “It’s sort of a slow process. You don’t realize how deeply in debt you are until at one point, you can’t make the minimum payments.”

Limiting yourself to two cards, each with a low credit limit, is a way to stop yourself from getting in over your head.

“Never have more than two cards, and make sure you have low limits. Then you can only get into so much trouble,” Duguay said, noting that Americans on average have nine credit cards.

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