The Back Pocket
Budget Planning For Youngsters
What would we do without our societal stereotypes? Wherever we look we form yet another stereotype. Take the case of the relationship between students and their credit cards. One common stereotype that we all seem to believe in is that no student has the capability of taking care of his own finances. We assume that just because someone is still a teenager (s)he will lack the prudence to curb her/his spending. Now, is that an accurate picture of the millions of students populating our world? I would say not. In my experiences with younger people I have found that many of them are very well-grounded and are quite prepared to take care of their expenses quite efficiently.
Of course, not all youngsters may be ready for the world of credit cards. That certainly takes a little getting used to. There is so much jargon that has to be deciphered. There are so many rules that have to be followed. There are so many monthly bills that have to be paid.
In addition to all that, there is the immense ease with which a credit card allows you to make your purchases and pay your bills. Once you have left the safety of your home and are living on campus, the freedom that you have can feel wonderful. However, this new-found freedom can also lead one to lead an entirely different lifestyle and spend like crazy. College is an entirely different experience. It can be quite a shock if you are unprepared for it. And credit cards are one of the factors that are part of this newness. That is why more and more colleges are taking it upon themselves to teach their students about the pros and cons of credit. And colleges are not alone. Credit card providers have also decided to stop being labeled as being opportunistic. They too have come up with courses (some of them certified courses) to enlighten young people about the various aspects of using credit.
Many youngsters behave as though credit cards provide access to free money. Several financial education courses teach teenagers about the various aspects of using credit cards. A college-goer might avail of some great credit card rewards by simply using her/his card sensibly. Reckless usage of credit cards can result in credit card debts. Students should be aware of this danger before they routinely go over budget. A credit history can haunt one for years to come. The trick is in using the credit cards wisely.
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