In my passion to educate consumers about credit, credit cards and debt, I have developed a fondness for college students. Especially those that are bombarded and targeted by the credit card companies marketing efforts.
People have asked me:
“If I had once piece of financial advice to give to college students, what would it be?”
An interesting question. But my answer is that college is way too late to start teaching about personal finance. By this time your children have already developed bad spending habits. Where did they learn these bad habits?
They learned them from their parents. We have become a buy now pay later society with very little emphasis on saving. The average American unsecured debt is more than their annual salaries. Money management is a lesson that we must teach our children not long after they learn to walk. Credit card debt is historically high and this is why teaching children about money management is vital to our future.
Teaching complete financial management and planning for current and future spending AND SAVING is necessary to becoming financially independent and, as a parent, it is your responsibility to give your children the tools they need to succeed in life.
I don’t mean to sound harsh but parents, thecreditrepairblueprint for the most part, are falling far short of the mark in this area of child development.
Teach them to plan well for wants and needs and teach them the difference. A new iPod is a want, food is a need. Teach them how to manage money and they will thank you when they get older. Teach them to save. To budget.
Let them learn from your mistakes. Let them see the hardships that debt brings. Face it. Credit card debt is just the opportunity to pay more for a product or service. Let them experience that. Teach them about compound interest.
A good lesson was learned on the golf course when two friends decided to “make it fun” by placing a wager on each hole. The bet was for a dime and on each hole the bet would double. Let’s do the math. The first hole is ten cents. The second hole is twenty and the third is forty cents. Not bad, just a friendly wager, right?
By the time they reached the ninth hole the bet was for $25.60. OK. Still not so bad for golf buddies. The tenth hole was $51.20, the eleventh hole was $102.40 and the twelfth hole was for $204.80! Now, if we were golfing this game, we would be getting a bit nervous. Hole 13 – $409.60. Hole 14 – $819.20. The bet continues to rise. By the 18th hole the bet will be a whopping $13,107.20!
THAT is the power of compound interest.
Do your kids a favor. As a parent, we always want more for our children they we have. Teach them about money, money management, spending and saving.
So what would I say to a college student?
JUST SAY NO!
Say no to the credit card “pushers” that stalk students on college campuses nationwide, enticing the unknowing student with their drug of credit. Don’t fall for the visions of buy beer and pizza now and pay later. For a $30 beer and pizza tab, making the minimum payments, you will have finally paid for that little harmless party in about seven years and you would wind up paying well over $100!