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by Laura Hendrix - July 9, 2018
One in three young adults (ages 18-34) report that they are struggling with inability
to managedebt, according to a National Endowment for Financial Education poll. Debt can be
a tool or atrap. Consumers with the highest credit scores qualify for the best interest rates
on home andcar loans. Lower interest rates can save thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.
Landlords,employers, and insurance agents often use credit scores to assess the risk of doing
businesswith someone. Set your children up for financial success by teaching them to manage
Teach your child how to check a credit report. There are two purposes for checking your child’scredit report. First, you can teach your child how to check and read a credit report.
Second,you can monitor for identity theft and fraud. There are three main credit reporting
bureaus:Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Individuals are entitled to a free report from
each bureaueach year. Check one report every four months to monitor throughout the year. Be sure
to usethe correct website address at www.annualcreditreport.com. Look for incorrect information.
Ifyou find errors or suspicious activity, be sure to contact the credit bureau.
Start a credit history. Individuals build a credit score by using credit wisely. Add your child as anauthorized user or co-sign an account with your young adult child. An authorized user
maymake purchases using your account. You are responsible for paying the debt. Your goodmanagement of the account will reflect positively on building your child’s credit
score.However, if you have late payments and keep the card maxed out, this will not only
hurt yourscore but can also damage your child’s credit score. If your child is 18 or older,
you can co-signa credit card with your child. You and your child are equally responsible for paying
the bill. Ifyour child overspends or makes late payments, this can reflect poorly on your credit
too.Whether authorizing or co-signing, it’s important to set ground rules. Make sure your
childknows what purchases are acceptable to charge on the account. Set usage limits. Co-signedcards can have a low limit to keep your child from overspending. A low limit keeps
total debt toa manageable amount in case you end up having to pay all of the charges.
Be a good role model. Children learn from their parents. They are likely to repeat behaviorsthey observe in their parents. Talk to your kids about good financial management practices.Live within your income. Limit your use of credit. Make more than the minimum payment
orpay off balances monthly. Pay all bills on time.
Discover the latest personal finance recommendations at www.uaex.uada.edu.
Laura Hendrix, Ph.D.Assistant Professor – Family and Consumer EconomicsThe Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.