Financial Literacy

From Credit Cards to Credit Scores

Research shows that people who are not "debt literate" use high-cost credit and are over-indebted. For young people, financial mistakes can quickly snowball, marking them as subprime borrowers. Low credit scores can drive up their costs of borrowing, making it difficult to borrow, and can even affect insurance rates and job prospects.

Realize that as you pay bills and debts on your own, you are building a "credit record" that could be important when you apply for a loan or a job in the future. Pay your bills on time...and borrow only what you can repay.

If you decide to get your own credit card, use your Credit Card Smarts, and choose carefully. Take your time, understand the risks as well as the rewards and do some comparison shopping. Don't apply for a credit card just because you received an invitation in the mail or a sales person was offering a free gift.

A Few Thoughts

Consider a paying job or even an unpaid internship at a workplace related to a career you're considering.

If possible, set aside money into savings and investments.

Try to take a class in personal finance. Read money-related magazines and newspaper articles.

Identity Theft The Federal Trade Commission calls identity theft one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States and estimates that 9 million Americans become identity theft victims each year. Don't be one of them!