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"I don't know how she's going to survive when I'm not paying the bills! She has no idea how to balance a check book; no idea what it costs to live."

If you are the parent of an 18-25 year old, you may identify with these words. I hear this sentiment time and again from parents of this age group when I speak of the need for credit card education. Interestingly, from students and recent graduates, I hear voiced concerns about money and admissions that financial education, as early as freshman year, would have been beneficial. Young people want to know about money, while parents worry over a child's lack of knowledge.

Something is getting lost in the shuffle, but one thing is for certain: college graduates are entering the real-world with little education about money. Many are failing.

In today's fast paced society that thrives on instant gratification, debt prevention should be a college prerequisite and the "money-talk" should rank in the top five pressing issues to address with your child.

The 18-25 year old demographic is unsaturated and highly solicited by credit card companies every year. Young people are often unexposed to the costs of living and unaware of the sacrifices parents make to pay the bills every month. On their own for the first time, young people turn to credit cards as a harmless means of financial support when money is scarce and financial ties to mom and dad have been cut. This population doesn't have the savvy to understand how credit cards work and many find themselves in debt in no time. Credit cards, if used without know-how and caution, can quickly destroy a young person's financial future. This debt is difficult to repay and carries significant consequences on a young person's bright future.

These days, credit reports are very influential and are used for more than just buying homes and big-ticket items. Recently, it has been reported that employers are using credit reports as part of the hiring process. With this in mind, it is essential for young people to understand how to demonstrate positive money management to protect the state of their credit report and their future. Avoiding credit card debt goes a long way towards this effort.

With millions of students off to college soon, this is the perfect time for the must-have "money-talk". This conversation can help young people understand basic personal finances before they are pressured to make financial decisions without your guidance.

What's getting lost in the shuffle is debt prevention: education and knowledge about money. Parents can significantly impact and influence this issue.

This fall before your child goes off to school, talk money and prevent debt. When your child has avoided the pitfalls of the credit trap and is off to a good start with money, they will hug your neck for it.

About the Author:

Copyright (c) Susan Powell, 2003 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Changing the face of predatory lending, Susan Powell is a debt prevention/financial literacy expert and author of the new book, "Credit Card Debt: It Can Cost You Your Life". She frequently writes and speaks about financial literacy. Details about the book and financial literacy training at .

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