As a parent, you want to equip your children as much as you can so they can be successful. You don’t want them to make the same mistakes you did. And you definitely don’t want them to make the same financial mistakes.
One way my husband and I decided to equip our children when it comes to finances is by adding them to our credit cards before the age of 18.
I know what you’re thinking. A credit card is not a great idea for a minor. It just calls for disaster, right?
Here’s a few key reasons why my husband and I decided to give our 9-year-old a credit card, and why you may consider doing the same for your kids!
It Builds His Credit.
When I first started building my own credit, I had ZERO clue on where to start. It was such a catch-22: you couldn’t open a credit card without having credit, but oh yeah, you also couldn’t have credit without opening a credit card.
My son is already building his credit history at 9 years old! This will help him when he’s ready to start applying for his own credit cards or loans.
Now, he’s not an actual joint owner—he’s an authorized user. As such, he still gets most benefits as if he were a joint owner; the main difference is I can remove him from my credit card at any time while he’s an authorized user.
Studies show that 4 in 7 Americans are financially illiterate. I want to change that! My ultimate goal is to equip my family and my readers to improve this statistic!
At his age, I don’t think I knew how a credit card worked or the fact it even existed. He may not fully understand the concept right now but he is slowly learning. He already understands a few personal finance topics, so as he gets older and we have more in-depth money conversations, he’ll gain a better understanding and appreciation for it all.
He Doesn’t Actually Have the Card.
He has a credit card with his name, but little disclaimer: it’s not actually in his possession. He’s not ready for that JUST YET… and neither are we, haha!
Once my husband and I believe he is at an age where he can responsibly use it, then we will give him access to it. When this happens, we plan on having a conversation with him before just letting him run free… you know, because we don’t want 31 cheeseburgers randomly showing up at our front door.
And we don’t want YOU to run free just yet, either—it’s important to make sure your credit is in good standing before adding your kid(s) to your credit card. We love using FREE credit monitoring services like Credit Karma to keep up with our scores and activity. Try it out before making your final decision!
Should You Add Your Kids?
Adding our son to my credit card worked for us but it may not be the best option for you. Definitely weigh your options, and talk with your partner to see if it’s something you’d like to do with your kids!