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Sorry for the long post but I am going to deliver a sermon.

Yes, as others have suggested, a course in high school on personal finances and credit card use would be nice and should be mandatory. But the real responsibility of teaching your kids the responsible way to use credit cards when they go to college lies with the parents.

The best way to teach them is to live by example. Kids normally do what you do and not what you say. They watch you use it to buy gas and groceries and every other household item. But they don't see you struggling to make each months payment. Maybe it is time to put the cards away. I am guilty myself. My daughter always asks 'Why don't you put it on your card?' She is only 4 years old. I see what I am doing and am determined to change.

My life story (how I was always responsible)

I have only paid finance charges once in my life over a 3 month period during college for a computer. I needed to spread the payments out a little. If I didn't have the money, I didn't buy it. I am 34 years old. How did I do this?

I was taught at a young age to work for money I wanted to use on unnecessary purchases. I had a paper route and cut lawns. I had to save my money if I wanted a bike. I was taught to be self-sufficient by watching and helping my parents. If the outside of the house needed painted or the brakes on the car needed replaced, I helped my father do it ourselves. I rarely ever saw my parents use a credit card, mostly on vacation.

My parents never once sat me down and taught how to use credit cards. They never explained the impact of interest from credit card use (I learned that in math class). We learned by example, by watching.

I guess me and my 2 brothers and 2 sisters were lucky. Not one has ever had credit card problems. My mother and father were able to teach life lessons without having to sit you down and lecture. I am off to a bad start with my own 2 daughters. This board has made me realize that responsibility starts at home and I need to get started.

Thats the end of my sermon. I need to go call my mother and get some advice on how she did it. Too bad Mother's Day is over. Saying thank you would have been the best present she could have received.
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