Am I crazy? You be the judge… by 720 Credit Score
I’ve been saying it for years, and I stand by it!
I think you should add your children as an authorized user to one of your credit card accounts.
I know you probably think I’m nuts, so let me back up …
A couple of weeks ago, I sent an email encouraging parents to use family meetings as an opportunity to teach children about certain values (like financial responsibility). Otherwise, they might be influenced by peers, credit card companies, or banks … and the results might be ugly.
After all, schools don’t teach this to our children, and banks prey on people who are financially vulnerable.
So if you have children, you would be wise to start teaching them now about credit, money, and financial responsibility.
Teaching children about credit, as well as how to manage credit, will help you raise financially responsible adults, and it will open doors for your children down the line.
Okay, so why do I think you should add your children as authorized users? Let me explain a four-part plan:
1. Add your child as an authorized user but do not give her/him a card! Here’s the important part: Add your child to a credit card that is in good standing. This will allow your child to “borrow” your good credit score, which means his or her credit score will begin to increase.
2. Use family meetings as an educational platform where your children learn about interest rates, budgeting, savings, and credit scoring.
3. Once your children begin demonstrating that they understand the value of money and are financially responsible, you might want to provide children with credit.
You can do this by establishing something that I call “Bank of Mom” or “Bank of Dad.” If your daughter wants to buy something for $30, lend her the money (assuming you can afford it), and create a weekly or monthly payment plan.
Then insist on timely payments, and tell your daughter that she will pay interest if she is unable to pay within a specified time frame. If your daughter is late making a payment, assess a late payment fee as part of your strategy for teaching children about credit.
The goal is to replicate the credit card companies as closely as possible.
4. Once your children prove themselves by continuously repaying debts, you might want to give them actual credit cards. Now, I know this sounds crazy, so let me explain …
I suggest that you allow your child access to the card only long enough to hand it to a cashier, and only if you are present. This way, your child will not be able to memorize the credit card number, nor will he or she have prolonged access to your account.
Then, make sure that your children pay their debt to the credit card company. I suggest that your children pay you instead of the company; this way, you can preserve your credit by making payments on the account regardless of whether your children are paying you.
Then, when the credit card statement arrives in the mail, sit down and go over it with your child. Explain the annual percentage rate, fees, late penalties, over-the-limit fines, and minimum payments. Then ask your children to verbalize their plans for paying their loans in a timely manner.
Expect your children to make mistakes, and help them create plans for correcting their mistakes. If they splurge and end up owing more than they can afford, perhaps they can do extra housework in exchange for an increased allowance. And, of course, teaching children about credit means that you call their cell phones—perhaps at 8 on a Saturday morning—to inquire about any late payments!
What do you think? Do you like this plan? If so, you can get more details by downloading my book Your Teen’s Credit right here.
Do you think I’m crazy? Do you love this plan? Leave me a comment below and let me know!