Age 18

Wherever you are, this is a milestone. Congratulations.

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Let’s take a moment, because friend, you have ARRIVED! Maybe you’ve listed the bunk bed and you’re turning their room into an art studio. Maybe you’re trying to bribe your kid into living with you for the rest of their life. Wherever you are, this is a milestone. Congratulations.

Take credit for your epic parenting, and now immediately teach your 18-year-old the basics of credit. 

Start Here.

Credit can be confusing for a young person. If it’s not explained well and early, it’s the kind of thing that can spiral, fast. Have a conversation with your kid about credit now, so you can quietly take credit for their good habits later. 

Explain it. Credit is the ability to borrow money now with the promise/guarantee you’ll pay it back later. Credit isn’t free. It comes with interest, and that interest is usually determined by how good your kid’s credit is. We’ve really come full circle.

Interest is the cost of using credit. Interest is great when it’s helping to grow your savings. It’s a drag when it’s working on your debt.

Credit cards can help keep your kids safer while shopping online. They are helpful in an emergency. Aaaand, they can give young adults a false and immediate sense of wealth. 

Let’s face it, credit cards can feel like free money. So, some helpful ground rules to share with your 18-year-old:

#1: If you can’t afford it with cash, you can’t afford it on credit.

#2: Pay your card in full and on time, every month. 

#3: There are no other rules. Except for this one: don’t spend more than 30% of the maximum your card allows. Everrrrr. 

Now there are no other rules. 

Keep Going.

Used properly, a credit card helps to build good credit, and a good credit score makes life easier. 

Credit scores are considered in the approval of loans, phone contracts, rental applications, mortgages, insurance. They are looked at by employers. They impact the interest rates offered on loans and car leases. A low credit score, or no credit score at all, makes life harder and, often, more expensive. 

Get This.

Credit cards make it easy to spend money. Studies have shown that people will spend up to 100% more when they buy with credit and not cash. 

Remember the Rule of 72 we covered when your kid was 13? Well, The Rule works for debt too. With the average credit card interest rate hovering at around 17 percent, it takes a credit card company only four years to double the money they’re squeezing from your kid.

So, choose wisely! There are lots of good credit cards for first time users. Sites like and will direct your 18-year-old to low interest or cashback cards with no annual fees. Some cards will promise free perks and rewards. Before your kid inhales the air miles, have them look up the APR (the Annual Percentage Rate) and the annual fee on each of the cards they’re considering. These are two separate fees. And there are more. When it comes to credit cards, free… is relative. 

But speaking of free, take a look at your glorious 18-year-old! They’re ready for the world and, thanks to your nudges and planning, they’ve got a nest egg that’s ready for them. 

Take a moment to look at what you’ve built together. And then put the fear of a mother into them and ensure that they NEVER TOUCH THAT MONEY!!! Keep it growing. 

We’re kidding. Sort of. This is the beginning of the rest of their lives. And now, thanks to you, this, and them, they’re ready for anything.