I’ve got the perfect project for my son and I during this summer before he heads off to college. I’m going to help my son begin to build his credit. One day he’ll apply for a car loan, a mortgage or some other line of credit. Having a good credit history will go a long way towards being approved, so I’m going to have him apply for a credit card through our bank.
Having his own credit card will provide the ability to teach him several important financial lessons:
What Is A Credit Score?
The whole point of my son getting a credit card is to build his credit history and have a good credit score. I can introduce him to the credit score scale, teach him what a good score is, and what would be considered a bad score. We can also talk about what actions positively affect his score, and what actions would have a negative impact.
What Are Credit Reporting Agencies?
This is a great time to introduce my son to the three credit reporting agencies, and teach him how creditors report his payment history to them. This information is then used to calculate his credit score.
How Do I Use Credit Responsibly?
Within a month of starting college, I signed up for my first credit card from a representative on campus handing out free t-shirts to anyone that filled out an application. I thought it would be cool to have one, but nobody taught me how to use it responsibly. I quickly maxed out the line of credit and had a rough time paying it back. Over the summer I can help him learn how to use a line of credit responsibly so he can avoid making the same mistake.
Credit Cards are A Tool
Credit cards can be a convenient form of payment with several benefits ranging from rewards programs to special perks when traveling. While there is certainly a downside to credit cards if they are misused, they can be a valuable financial tool when used correctly.
Credit is likely something my son will utilize at some point in his life. It’s my responsibility as a parent to teach him how to use it responsibly, the dangers of misusing it, and the effect it can have on its life. Now that he’s 18, having his own credit card seems like the perfect way to accomplish these goals, as well as help him build the foundation of good credit.
How about you, Clever Friends, how old were you when you got your first credit card? Did someone teach you how to use it responsibly?
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