August 19, 2019

Words of Wisdom for High School Graduates

avoid credit cardsYesterday, my son graduated from high school.   His class selected a math/environmental sciences teacher named Nicole Brite to deliver the faculty address to the senior class.  Ms. Brite delivered a spectacular address which was meaningful, witty and thoughtful (and she received a well deserved standing ovation from both the students and the audience).

In one part of her speech, Ms.  Brite turned to the graduates and said  “now I am going to offer you some words of advice that I wish someone had said to me when I was leaving high school.”   One of the points she made I think is applicable to everyone, not just high school students.

“Stay away from credit cards,” said Ms. Brite.  “When you get to college, you will see tents set up by the credit card companies.  They will offer you frisbees and t-shirts and free food to entice you to sign up for a credit card.  They’ll tell you that a credit card will help you build up your credit and you can use it only for emergencies.   Don’t believe it.   You will be tempted to decide that an emergency takes the form of a pizza at 2 in the morning, or putting your entire fraternity’s dinner on your card because no one has cash.  Credit cards will mess you up.”

I hope that each and every one of the graduates in my son’s class heard these words of wisdom and I wish this advice could be included in the “welcome to school” packets given to incoming freshman.

Over the years I see dozens of young adults in their late 20’s and early 30’s who are still dealing with thousands of dollars of college years credit card debt and the associated damaged credit ratings.   It is so easy to find oneself behind the proverbial eight ball, and digging out from a credit hole is a lot more difficult than avoiding the problem in the first place.

If your son or daughter recently graduated from high school, congratulations on an accomplishment and a milestone.   Let your graduate know that while college isn’t exactly the real world, they now have assumed the capacity to get themselves in adult level financial trouble. As uninteresting as household budgeting ten years hence may seem, they most definitely do not want their college aged mistakes to lead them to a bankruptcy lawyer’s office in the future.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Ginsberg represents honest, hardworking men and women in the Atlanta area who need personal bankruptcy protection. In practice for over 25 years, Jonathan teaches bankruptcy law and practice at legal continuing education seminars and he is a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network. Jonathan lives with his wife and children in Atlanta.

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