Most of us don’t talk about money, finances, credit, debt….Young people especially go into the real world blind about these issues. They have had it easy or difficult growing up financially. Some kids use their parents credit cards or are even issued one. Some don’t have anything above the necessities. Then some “EARN” an allowance and are taught to spend conservatively. I think all of us have a responsibility to steer them in the right direction.
It is necessary to establish credit. Choose, for example a reputable credit card company. Often this can be obtained through the credit union or bank where an account has been active. Carefully read all of the disclosure. Pay close attention to the interest, grace periods and penalties. Most importantly, spend the way you always have and absolutely no more. Charge one or two of the usual expenses and be sure to pay the bill on time. This creates the needed credit and good score to buy bigger things.
Credit is a good thing in some ways. But as we all know it is more often a problem. One problem is people lose control of spending. I think there’s something psychological that makes it easier to sign a piece of paper than to write a check or whip out the cash. One is your money, the other doesn’t seem to be. The worst part of being up to your eyeballs in debt is that it snowballs quickly and usually hopelessly. There are debt reduction programs and free consultation services and unfortunately bancruptcy. But it’s easier not to get there. Another problem is bad credit on the report that’s incorrect. Amazingly this happens very often and consumers aren’t usually aware of it until they apply for something. It pays to check about once a year. If something is in error it’s usually not difficult to get it corrected.
I had a young man (19) come to see me yesterday. He said he wanted to buy a house and no one would pay attention to him. What a sad statement. He has belonged to his credit union for years. He has rented a house for a year and paid the utilities. He’s a certified mechanic who took first place in the state. He has worked in the same field for several years. That’s more stability than I’ve seen in some forty year old people. John went to the credit union and spoke to someone in the mortgage department. I’m fairly confident it went well and I will find him a good property and a good deal because I know him and I’m proud of him. I think he was hesitant to talk to me because his mom and I are best friends. I wish the other people had treated him with the respect this young man deserves.