Ah, it’s that time of year– the days are getting a little shorter, the nights are getting a little crisper, and parents are doing the happy dance as kids of all ages head back to school for the fall. Well, maybe not the college kids’ parents who are experiencing empty nest syndrome. To those parents, I recommend picking up some good books and a new hobby. As a financial blogger I also recommend having “the talk” with your college-aged children before they head off for the semester. No, not that talk– hopefully that one happened already. I mean the one about spending, budgets, credit cards, and the big bad world of money and bills. Check out this article by Susan Tompor of the Poughkeepsie Journal about students acquiring credit cards during college and the quick way that those bills can add up:
“College students juggle plenty: part-time jobs, research projects, dating, keeping up with the family at home.
It’s way too easy to make some really dumb moves on campus that can ding a credit score. Lower scores mean higher costs when taking on adult-size purchases, such as car loans and mortgages, down the road.
Since 2010, credit-card companies can no longer offer T-shirts, coupons for free pizza, coffee mugs or other gifts on campus to college students who agree to fill out a credit-card application. They can still market cards on campus — just no freebies.”
Click here to read how decisions made in college regarding credit cards and spending can affect your kids for years to come.
Don’t be scared to have “the talk” with your college kids. Sometimes talking about money makes people nervous or uncomfortable, or you don’t want to scare your kids by talking about the possibility of poor credit. Let me tell you, my parents never had that talk with me, and even though I didn’t have a credit card until well after college, I would have made some very different financial choices had I known more about how credit history works.