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Talking about Credit Card Debt with College Age Children

Many Florida college students already have at least one credit card. They may charge seemingly small items like meals out with friends, groceries or other items that may not cost much on their own, but add up quickly. When a college student is home for the holidays, taking the opportunity to talk about credit card debt could end up savings them problems in the future.

Most people make at least one mistake with credit cards. Charging too much or missing a payment is common and fixable. However, if a college age child does not get a handle on these mistakes early, it could set a pattern that could shape the rest of his or her financial life. It may be a difficult subject to discuss, but it is a necessary one.

Reviewing a student’s credit card bills and credit report can give a student the chance to see that any mistakes made now have unintended ramifications such as a history of late payments and higher interest rates. Credit card companies are required to inform customers on their statements how long it will take them to pay off a balance only making the minimum payments. That information could be enough to make a college student realize he or she could be headed for financial trouble.

Sometimes, the discussion comes too late. Credit card debt can sneak up on anyone. Other debts such as medical bills from an accident could also put a young person deeper into debt. Florida college students need to know there are options such as bankruptcy if they get in over their heads. Most if not all of a college age student’s debts can be discharged giving a student a financial fresh start with which to responsibly rebuild his or her financial life with a clear understanding of how to avoid the same mistakes in the future.

Source: jacksonville.com, It’s Your Money: Talk to your college student about debt, No author, Dec. 17, 2013

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