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Educating Future Students About the Pitfalls of Credit Card Debt

Last month, my partner Abe Brustein and I went to Taft High School on the Northwest Side of Chicago to talk to Senior high school students about understanding how credit cards work, and protecting their credit score.

These same students were going to be either going to college in the fall, or entering the workforce with little to no knowledge of how credit affects them, and what their scores even mean. Meanwhile, they will be innodated with credit card offers, and enticed with free t-shirts and blankets and other useless items.

Our message was simple. Do not be afriad of credit. Apply for a card so you can being to build your credit history. However, pay it off ontime, every month if you can. If you have a larger purchase, like a computer, that you need, you might have to pay it off over time, but understand how interest compounds, and budget your funds accordingly.

Also our message was clear about safeguarding your credit by not cosigning for others and by watching for identiy theft. View your credit report on an annual basis. Check for fraud or simple mistakes. Do not cosign for friends or family. Your credit not only affects your ability to borrow, but if affects your ability to rent an apartment, apply for utilities, the amount you will pay for auto insurance. Sometimes it will affect your ability to land a job.

As with anything, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Spend wisely, be aware, and see me if things get out of hand.

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