Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorneys Say Creditors Are Making It Harder For College Students to Get Credit Cards
Parents of spend-happy teenagers everywhere will breathe a collective sigh of relief Feb. 22.
That's when new credit card legislation goes into effect preventing anyone under 21 from getting a credit card, unless they can prove they have an independent source of income (i.e. not from Mom and Dad) or parental permission, according to Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.
At first glance, it's a good idea. Credit card companies have for years set up booths on college campuses to prey on financially-uneducated freshman (I only wish there would have been some age limit in place when I got my first credit card - and shortly after, my first credit card debt). But there's one big problem the new legislation doesn't address. Whether you open a credit card account when you're 16, 21 or 50, you're still going to have to learn how to manage your credit to prevent winding up in debt.
Anyone with a credit card can easily get into trouble by spending more than they earn - it just happens to be even easier when it's your first credit card. I remember how excited I was when I learned I could buy whatever I wanted and only make the minimum payment each month. It felt like I was winning the lottery. It took experience to figure out that my obligations were being deferred, not waived - and that the less I paid, the bigger my debt became.
Of course, there are also positives to having credit at a young age. Length counts in credit history. Without a credit card, you don't have a credit history - and you won't be able to qualify for a car or home loan anytime soon.
When it comes to credit, it's about balance. Instead of trying to keep kids from credit, maybe we should be teaching them how to use it responsibly. And that starts with how we as adults treat credit. Using cash for everyday and reserving plastic for emergencies only can improve your finances today - and your children's finances tomorrow. Even if you don't have children, it can't hurt to reevaluate your credit habits.
Sometimes you'll find that cutting just a few small costs from your budget - a couple magazine subscriptions here, a Netflix account there, for example - can add up enough to help you pay more than the minimum each month. In turn, upping your payments will chip away at your debt faster - and the interest that goes along with it. Other times, you might need an extra boost. Fortunately, bankruptcy can help lower debt by providing an affordable payment plan. Find out if bankruptcy can help you get a handle on your debt when you try a free one-on-one debt analysis courtesy of an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney. Because it's never too late to learn how to save more money.