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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Student Credit Card

When I started college, the opportunity to obtain a Student Credit Card was not there. Now a days the junior and senior high school students get the offers directly to them in the mail. Times have changed. My mom and dad probably would have cringed at the thought of me having my own credit card at the age of 18. Times really have changed and we as parents need to look at this scenario much differently then our parents did.

In today’s society if you do not have a credit card it is really hard to do much of anything. You can not rent a car for instance. What if your child is away for college and they need to get home. A car ride in most cases is much less expensive then a flight, but with out a credit card of some kind, they simply will not be able to rent the car. This is just one example out of many scenarios that having a credit card is necessary.

Of course, do not get me wrong. Just handing an 18 year old a credit card with no instructions or explanations is definitely a dangerous situation. We as parents need to help them understand the pit falls as well as the benefits of credit cards and credit.

Maybe starting a little earlier in life, like at 16 is a good year to teach your child about credit cards and credit. That does not mean you need to go get them a Student Credit Card at that time. What it means is teach them about your credit. What did you do to build your credit and obtain those credit cards, car, and home? If you had some struggles along the way. Do not hide that from them. Let them know. They might be able to learn from your mistakes.

Explaining the importance of credit and how you can build it in a productive but slow manner is also going to be helpful to them. Explain you do not just graduate from college get a job and buy that new car or home. It is something you have to work at for sometimes a few years. Knowledge is a powerful tool and preparing your child for the future is also power. You do want to give them all the power you can so they will be successful.

As parents we do need to change our way of thinking when it comes to teaching our children. Let them know the bad as well as the good. Not all, but some of those kids will learn from it. Unfortunately, there are those that have to experience before they learn, and that is ok as well. If they start out the wrong way, it may take a year or two, but they will be able to fix it. So, I do encourage all of you parents out there to take the initiative to teach your children about credit. The student credit card offers are out there and very easy for them to obtain. So, the changes are they will get one with or without your knowledge. So teach them so the know how to handle this new power.