Find the best credit card for you by doing your research using resources such as U.S. News’ credit card rankings. Make an effort to understand the financial moves that will help you build good credit. If you can’t handle the responsibility of a credit card, don’t use one.
Fact: 1 in 5 teenage students in the U.S. lacks basic financial literacy skills, according to the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA. Teens may be young, but it’s important that they understand basic financial concepts. Teenagers face dozens of important financial decisions before they celebrate their 20th birthday. They’ll need to make wise choices when borrowing student loans, building credit from scratch and selecting a career. “As 18- or 19-year-olds, we’re asking them to make the second largest financial decision in their life, after their mortgage,” says John Pelletier, director of the Center for Financial Literacy at Vermont’s Champlain College, of the choice to take on student loans.
Fact: In the U.S., 29 percent of working women demonstrated basic financial literacy versus 47 percent of working men, according to the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, or GFLEC. While women tend to be less financially literate than their male counterparts worldwide, they tend to be more cognizant of where they’re lacking in knowledge, says Annamaria Lusardi, academic director of GFLEC at George Washington University’s School of Business in the District of Columbia.
But educating women about their money is especially critical because it creates ripples into their communities. “Women are important agents for financial literacy,” Lusardi says. “Because women tend to care [for] the others around them, that knowledge can enrich not just themselves, which is important, but others around them.”
Fact: 54 percent of student loan holders didn’t attempt to figure out their future monthly payments before taking out their loans, according GFLEC. Borrowing for college is one of the first major financial decisions young people will make in their lives, experts say. And how they handle their loans may determine whether they have a healthy financial life with good credit and strong savings, or a weak financial future, with overwhelming debt and lousy credit.
College students should research not just the amount of loans that they’re borrowing, but the type of loan – federal, state or private – and what their future payments will look like with interest. There are dozens of resources available to help map this out, from U.S. News’ paying for college reporting to the financial aid offices at their university or college.
Read more at U.S. News and World Report