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Why You Need to Teach Kids about Credit

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KidsAndCredit1I’ve recently been getting offers for prepaid debit cards targeted at young teens. Here’s the first sentence of one I got a few days ago: “It’s not always convenient to give teens money when they need it.” No kidding! This offer was targeting my 14-year-old son, but the letter was addressed to me and it’s selling me the idea of convenience.

Prepare to start seeing a lot of these offers. On the one hand, I do appreciate the up-front nature of this offer, which by the way, was from American Express. At least the issuer acknowledges I’m the gatekeeper to my son’s wallet.

Remember the ill-fated Kardashian Kard and how the marketing was targeted directly at your teenager? I think we’ll see more Kardashian-inspired debit or credit cards sponsored by celebrities. But that’s only one reason why I believe it’s important to teach young kids about the concept of credit.

[Article: Getting Kids in on the National Financial Capability Challenge]

How early should you start? You can introduce basic concepts around the age of ten. Note that I said concepts, not prepaid debit or credit cards. In fact, if your kid is mature, start as soon as he or she can handle 3-digit addition. But don’t fret if you have a 15-year-old and you’ve never discussed this. I’m not going to say it’s never too late to start, though. If you wait until they graduate from high school, you’ve waited too long. It’s essential they develop responsible credit habits before they ever set foot on a college campus.

Kids mature at different rates and only you can decide which steps they’re ready for. But here are some guidelines to consider…

How to teach kids about credit »

Image: _Dinkel_, via Flickr.com

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  • http://www.mickeygoodman.com Mickey

    Great tips for parents or grandparents like me. My younger grans think everything is free with plastic. Would it were so!

  • Pingback: What Do Your Children Know about Money and Credit? | The Debtress()

  • Beverly Blair Harzog

    I’m glad this was helpful, Mickey. It’s wonderful to see a grandparent involved in the grandkids’ credit education.

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