Money Concepts for Teens & Young Adults
Q: How many credit cards would you recommend a young adult in their 20s to have to help build credit? What benefits should I look for in a credit card?
A: The fewer the better, you don’t want to over extend yourself and accumulate a lot of debt so one to start. I don’t think you would need more than two in most circumstances. As far as benefits, no annual fees, some people like the rewards system attached to it like cash back. For some people they prefer lower interest rates. It really depends on you and your personality.
Q: What are good websites to use to check my credit score?
A: When you pull your annual credit report on annualcreditreport.com you are typically given the option to get your full score for a small fee directly from Equifax, Transunion, and Experian on that site. Some credit cards when you sign up for their online banking will also give you a score for free, those are a good place to get a general idea of where you fall.
Q: I’m looking to buy furniture for an apartment, which stores credit card or credit card, in general, would you recommend?
A: All store charges come with a high-interest rate, they will reel you in with no interest in 12 months but be sure to read that fine print. By applying for those you will have a hit on your credit. I would look at a Visa or MasterCard with a low-interest rate. Sites like AfterPay are readily available but look at the fine print on those and be vary of hidden fees or interest.
Q: How can I build credit safely without running myself into credit card debt?
A: Look at secure credit card options, credit unions still offer these types of credit cards. Another option, talk to your parents to be added as an authorized user on one of their credit card accounts to slowly start to add credit with an option for less risk.
Q: What's the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?
A: Unsubsidized loans are for anyone who has a need to take out money for college. Subsidized Loans do not accrue interest while you are in school at least half-time or during deferment periods.
Q: When it comes to student loans, should I refinance or wait to see what develops with the Biden Administrations Student Loan Forgiveness Plan?
A: There is not really enough information there. If you refinance into private loans I would wait. If you move student loans into private loans, you will not qualify. There are certain types of loans that will not count. Go to studentaid.gov to access more information, the application to apply is now open until December 31, 2023.
Q: When should I look at student loan information?
A: As soon as possible, I say before high school. You want to understand the full picture of what you are going to need. Start looking at the colleges you are thinking about attending. You want to take your time exploring all your options.
Q: How long does it typically take to pay off the graduated pay off plan?
A: It takes 10 years but the amount increases every two years. It is with the expectation that your income will increase.
Q: How much money should I put into a 401K?
A: At this young age, I would say that any amount is a good amount to start. Once you start a job, if they have a matching program, you will want to contribute at least that much. The more time you have for that money to grow, the better off you will be when you reach retirement age. When you start contributing, if you can, every year, up it a percentage point.
Q: What if I have a bill that is due but can't pay it?
A: If you can't pay it, reach out to merchants and see if they have any way to assist or set up a different payment plan. You can also reach out to your parents or other support to ask for assistance. Once you have a plan, spend some time figuring out what happened because you may need to review your budget. In a situation like that, communication is key.
Q: How do I pick a financial institution?
A: You really want to compare those products. Different institutions have different checking account options. You want to pay attention to interest rates on all of their accounts and fees. You really want to pay attention to the fine print. Think about where you live and where you might be living and how easy it will be to do business with them.