I admit when I left home and went to college, I was not the most financially savvy high-school graduate. Now at the ripe old age of 27 I wish I knew then what I know now, at least when it comes to my credit report.
I’m still not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to apply for seven credit cards in one day to get free one-size-fits-all t-shirts that sat in the back of my closet until finally making their way to the trash. Mind you, I never actually used any of those credit cards, so my credit report was safe, right? Wrong.
Why didn’t somebody tell me that was a sure-fire way to lower my credit score instantly? Maybe because I didn’t even know what a credit score was or why it was important.
Oh, and don’t get me started on student loans. You mean I actually have to pay those back someday? With interest? And who ever thought it was a good idea to offer me more loan money than I needed for tuition? Yet I gladly accepted it.
Well, I’m a little bit older and a little bit wiser, especially after I had the opportunity to attend a financial literacy seminar offered by my bank. Now I plan to make it my goal to spare the young and credit-naive the pain of learning from bad experiences. I recently had the honor of coaching a group of young adults who are enthusiastic about building a strong credit history for themselves. Maybe I can live vicariously through them as I watch them avoid the mistakes I wish I didn’t make!