Every eighteen year old has received that persuasive brochure in the mail, pushing the plastic option. However, are students, who still struggle to do their laundry by themselves, ready to take on full financial responsibility? Statistics have shown that nearly half of Americans are in credit card debt, and I can guarantee that we have all witnessed an individual struggle to pay back that flat-screen television or the new leather loveseat from Jerome’s. Yet, regardless of knowing the statistics and watching others drown in overdue bills, we all still seem to find credit cards appealing.
If you are a student trying to determine whether the plastic option is for you, take into account the following information:
1. Students are targeted.
Let’s face it. Most young students are not as responsible as the adults who have already experienced the reality of debt. Therefore, most credit card companies purposely target students who are in the midst of financial troubles and have never experienced debt before. As a student, you must take into account your current financial situation and make good judgments.
2. Credit cards are not immediately required.
When credit cards were first invented, only those who qualified were eligible to use one. During the mid 1900’s, the number of credit card holders skyrocketed, and the only requirement to apply for a credit card now is your age. Evaluate whether a credit card is the best option for your personal finances, but do not feel as though it is immediately required of you on your eighteenth birthday.
3. There are ways to avoid debt.
If you decide that a credit card could be useful, you should not view your signature at the bottom of the credit card agreement as the beginning of lifelong debt. There are smart ways to use credit to avoid being stressed out later. For example, only purchase items that are absolutely necessary and know how and when you are going to pay it back.
4. Good credit has benefits.
Building good credit is a definite plus in today’s business obsessed world. Therefore, if you are able to demonstrate financial responsibility, there are benefits. Also, keep in mind that only one credit card is necessary to build credit. The more credit card agreements you sign, the more difficult it will become to control your spending.
5. Americans are in denial.
Although many people claim to be financially responsible, the majority of Americans in debt are also in denial. Do not allow yourself to become one of the many that avoid the mailbox, pay only the minimum amount, and ignore the fact that your credit card has gained control over your life. Although credit card debt can be difficult to overcome, there are ways of getting out of debt before it costs you an arm and a leg.
Students considering a credit card should realize that financial responsibility is only a small step to overall success. It is nearly impossible in today’s world to manage finances or enter into business contracts without a good credit score. If you are able to live paycheck to paycheck and avoid the possibility of debt, why not sign that credit card agreement at a later date?