Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
High school graduation represents a milestone for teenagers. For parents who have spent eighteen years trying to prepare their children to lead productive and successful lives, graduation is an indication that they are well on their way.
Your graduating senior may be ready to leave for college or get a job, but what does she know about money management, saving money, handling credit, and how to avoid the pitfalls of debt and financial crisis?
For most young adults, a single event isn’t typically what leads to financial crisis, but a lack of basic money management skills—skills they won’t likely learn in school. Parents need to take the lead in providing their children with information and hands-on practice that will lead to sound financial management down the road.
Here are a few things every graduating senior needs to know about money:
How to create and stick to a budget
Start with the basics: analyze your teen’s spending habits, create financial goals, and set spending priorities. Work with your teen to develop a budget. Estimate his monthly income, from work, odd jobs, allowance, etc., and his monthly expenses—everything from entertainment, gas, and cell phone to insurance costs.
If your teen is moving into an apartment with a roommate, he needs to consider what would happen if that roommate suddenly left—how would he handle the bills on his own?
How to use a checking account
This is an important skill whether your child is heading off to college or starting down her career path. Have her take responsibility for some of her expenses, even if you are providing the income, by letting her use her checking account to pay the bills. Have her sit with you when you pay the monthly household bills so she gets an idea of what it takes to cover groceries, utilities, rent, and other expenses. Consider having her sign up for a CheckWise course at www.CredAbility.org/checkwise, which will help her learn to manage an account responsibly and may help her get approved to open an account at a local financial institution.
How to save
If your teen doesn’t already have a savings account, help him open one. Talk with him about developing a savings plan and setting aside a portion of his income each month for savings and unexpected expenses. Consider matching some of his savings—a great way to teach him about the rewards that come from building a savings account.
How to use credit cards
Recent changes as a result of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act will make it more difficult for students to get a credit card. The law states that consumers under age 21 who can’t prove an independent means of income or provide the signature of a cosigner age 21 or older won’t get approved for a credit card. In many cases, this will help prevent students from getting in over their heads.
A responsible first step in helping your teen learn to use credit wisely might be getting her a debit card that is tied to her checking or savings account and will prohibit her from overspending. If you do this over the summer, she will have a few months to monitor her finances online with your help before she heads off to college.
How to protect a credit score
A credit score tells potential lenders how well you have used credit in the past and how likely you are to repay in the future. The better your credit score, the better interest rates you will receive. Have your high school senior pull his credit report. This can be done for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. If he hasn’t established a credit history, he might not have anything on his report, but it is a good idea to monitor the report on a regular basis. Remind him that a credit report is a record of his past financial transactions and that an important part of using credit wisely is to annually review his credit reports. Checking his reports will help him spot errors and serve as a safeguard against credit fraud.
Check out the rest of the credit stories here at the Equifax Personal Finance Blog for more advice on and help with building and maintaining a strong credit history.
Mechel Glass is the former vice president of education for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions. She is a U.S. Army veteran, entrepreneur, author, and educator.
How To Dispute Credit Report Errors
Four Things College Kids Need To Know About Credit
Four Myths About Your Credit History
Debt Reduction: Why Paying Down Your Credit Card Debt Helps Your Credit Score
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.