Building good credit is a lifelong process and one that requires great diligence and discipline. However, these days, the younger generation is not always equipped with the information needed to successfully build good credit. Basic personal finance is not being taught in all curriculums, so younger individuals are ill equipped to responsibly manage their finances. This is especially the case for college students, who are just around the age when it would make sense to begin building credit but also around the age where it is easy to fall into high amounts of debt. Continue reading for a guide on the important of building credit for college students in particular.
STRONG CREDIT IS IMPORTANT
Let us begin by explaining why having strong credit is important. Credit influences many different things, including (among others):
- Apartment renting – a low credit score can prevent you from renting an apartment
- Employment – a low credit score can prevent you from being hired by an employer
- Homeownership – a low credit score can hamper your ability to secure a loan to purchase a home
There are additional consequences as well, but these are some of the most notable. And while some of these things may not seem very important right now, especially for college students, they will become very important down the road. Most of all, building credit takes times, so you will want to start as early as possible and be as diligence about establishing responsible habits.
COLLEGE STUDENTS CAN GET A HEAD START
The good news is that when you are a college student, you can get a head start. One of the most important factors in building credit is the length of your credit history. Thus, the earlier you start, the better! Of course, college age is also a time when it is easy to build up huge amounts of student loan debt and credit card balances. You can see how this is a double edged sword: starting earlier is better, but it also means you bay be starting at a time when you are particularly susceptible to developing poor credit.
SLOW AND STEADY IS THE BEST APPROACH
At the end of the day, the best approach is to go slow and steady. If you are a college student, apply for a credit and begin by making small charges and paying those off. This may feel cumbersome or pointless, but this will lay the groundwork for good habits. Setting a limit on how much you will charge to your card will also be helpful to control your spending and prevent you from racking up large amounts of debt. At the same time, it will allow you to consistently improve your credit score!
Overall, building good credit is extremely important for many aspects of life – housing, employment, and so on. Since length of credit history is a key factor in your credit score, it is optimal to start as early as possible and feasible. For college students, taking a slow and steady approach will help you to develop responsible practice and start to build a strong credit history!