It feels good when you know you taught someone something

In this case, I am talking about my son, Derek.  He turned 18 in August.  I used to screen his mail – not opening it or anything, but just throwing away what I knew was junk (like credit card offers, which he has received for almost ten years).

Yesterday Derek got a credit card in the mail.  Not an offer, but an actual card.  I wanted to throw it away, but my son is not longer my child – even though he still lives with me.  He is legally an adult, and my job now is to help him realize that.

So I brought him the mail, including the credit card, and said, “You are making your own decisions now – here’s a credit card.”

Twenty minutes later Derek came out of his room and was very animated in describing to me how this credit card company would rape him on fees and interest.  He read the fine print.  He threw the card away (after cutting it up).  I don’t know that I have ever been more proud of him than I was at that moment.

I have long preached the evils of credit to my kids – especially credit cards.  I’m glad Derek was listening.  I hope he remembers this forever – I hope he never has a credit card (you really don’t need one, you know – a debit card works the same way and only allows you to spend money you have earned!).

So Derek passed a significant milestone on his road to adulthood – he convinced his father that he is capable of critical thinking, and that he has a level of responsibility that I didn’t know he had until now…. although I of course suspected it all along.

Comments

  1. Actually, you can build a credit rating with MANY mechanisms other than a credit card – like a personal line of credit taken agains money in your savings account, MUCH lower interest loans through a credit union, etc.  I stand by what I said – there is no need to have a credit card.  Money is available much more cheaply in other places than any credit card company I know of will offer it.

  2. I hope he never has a credit card (you really don’t need one, you know – a debit card works the same way and only allows you to spend money you have earned!).I disagree with that.  You need a good credit history for major purchases like a home or a car.  Unless you are rich enough to pay cash for those kinds of items outright, the lesson should be about using credit responsibly.