How to Help Kids Avoid Credit Card Debt

In today’s society credit cards are no more a luxury, they are almost a necessity. Much of this is due to the influence of the media’s “have it NOW” attitude. In fact, a lot of people posses more than one credit cards. So, the credit card industry is growing by leaps and bounds. However, the credit card industry and credit card holders are posed with a big problem called ‘Credit Card Debt’. In order to help prevent your child from becoming burdened with this debt it is a good idea to educate them on how credit cards work.

Credit cards, as the name suggests, are cards on which you can get credit i.e. make borrowings (your credit card debt). Your credit card is a representative of the credit account that you hold with the credit card supplier. Whatever payments you make using your credit card are actually your borrowings that contribute towards your credit card debt. Your total credit card debt is the total amount you owe credit card supplier. You must settle your credit card debt on a monthly basis. So, you receive a monthly statement or your credit card bill which shows your total credit card debt. You must pay off your credit card debt by the payment due date failing which you will incur late fee and interest charges. However, you have the option of making a partial (minimum) payment too, in which case you don’t incur late fee but just the interest charges on your credit card debt. If you don’t pay off your credit card debt in full, the interest charges too get added to it. So your credit card debt keeps on increasing, more so because the interest rates on credit card debt are generally higher than the interest rates on other kind of loans/borrowings. Further, the interest charges add on to your credit card debt each month to form the new balance or the new credit card debt amount. If you continue making partial payments (or no payments) the interest charges are calculated afresh on the new credit card debt. So you end up paying interest on the last month’s interest too. Thus your credit card debt accumulates rapidly and soon you find that what was once a relatively small credit card debt has ballooned into a big amount which you find almost impossible to pay. Moreover, if you don’t still control your spending habits, your credit card debt rises even faster. This is how the vicious circle of credit card debt works.

Once they understand this concept you can help them understand how saving up for something and spending withing their means can help reduce stress, save money on interest payments and eliminate the big problem our world is experiencing with massive debt loads. Look for my article on Saving and Spending coming up very soon!

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