Remember when you got your first credit card? How exciting it was, you just wanted to take it out for a ride? Kids are inundated with credit card offers the first day they walk onto their college campus: towels, gym bags, the loot’s pretty appealing. And if that’s not early enough, now high school kids are getting offers from credit card companies. Heck, I even know someone who’s pet got mail from a credit card company! Ok, so they probably thought it was his kid, but still…
With credit so hard to come by (and jobs arguably harder still), credit cards are a sure-fire way to get cash-strapped kids with not-yet-well-developed impulse control to part with their money. Not terrible, except that $20. t-shirt winds up costing them $30 when they pay the minimum monthly amount and the interest rate shoots up. And it’s going to.
So teach your kids early and teach them well: pay now or don’t buy. Or, if you want your teenager to have a card, make it a debit card. Or tell her to make a deal with herself: pay in full at the end of the month, or cut up your card and go back to cash. Keep your money in your pocket, not the bank’s.
Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.