Before any of y’all get started, I know I just wrote about taxes last week. This isn’t going to be some series ripping our public school system for churning out kids who were never taught the importance of credit. It’s just lately, in the words of Snoop Dogg, “ my mind on my money, and my money on my mind.” At least sex ed kind of worked because, “I got a pocket full of rubbers and my homeboys do too.” But, before I turn this entire column into a subliminal version of Snoop’s Gin & Juice, I can’t stress enough how important credit is. I also can’t believe I was never taught about it in school.
Almost every major financial decision made in someone’s adult life is determined by credit. How much more, or less, you’ll pay is determined by a magical number from three different schools of financial wizardry. As many of you all know, those three bureaus are Transunion, Experian, and the infamous
equi-hacks Equifax. Luckily, my mom and dad showed me the ropes.
Basically, in a brief synopsis of credit, you have a range of scores from 300 to 850. The higher your score, there’s less risk for the bank, the lower your rate, the less you pay for a loan. Now, this can be offset by factors like debt to income. For example, if you only make $35,000 a year, and you’ve got over $5,000 in credit card debt, you can’t finance that 1.6 million beach house. Well, unless you have a shit ton of cash to put down or you can time travel to a time when they looked past that and caused the housing market crash of 2008.
However, the lack of this financial knowledge is sure to fuck over tons of young eighteen-year-olds who max out a Kohl’s card, Cabela’s card, and Visa all in the same month. All while racking up 20% interest fees making their minimum payments. Or, just being late altogether. Then, when they go to buy something of real importance, they’re up shits creek without someone to cosign on a loan with them.
I mean we can’t even trust parents to vaccinate kids on their own to prevent measles. And for the anti-vax kids that do live, we expect them to be literate in personal finance upon graduating high school? Ready and able to be entering, “the real world” without being taught the principles of basic finance. That’s ludicrous!
I don’t think I’ve used a whole lot of Algebra 2 since high school, but I do know, my knowledge about credit and personal finance is worth a hell of a lot more. So why aren’t we teaching kids about this?