Did You Know? March is National Credit Education Month!
Posted by Century Support Services on Mar 11, 2021
Can you remember being taught about credit scores and credit reports when you were in school? If not, then you’re certainly not alone. Unfortunately, there seems to be a huge gap between what future consumers are taught in school versus what they really need to know to make wise financial decisions. And of course, your credit score is a very direct reflection of the financial choices you’ve made throughout life.
Fortunately, March is National Credit Education Month in the United States; this presents an excellent opportunity not only to further your own awareness about credit scores and credit reporting—but to spread some of this valuable knowledge onto your own children and other youth in your life.
The Importance of Proper Credit Education
Without a solid understanding of how financial decisions can affect credit, it’s very easy to make mistakes that can ultimately tarnish your credit and have a long-lasting impact on your life. You may already know this all-too-well, so by spreading awareness of credit education, you may be able to protect a child or another loved one from falling into a similar situation.
Unfortunately, according to the U.S. News & World Report, only 19 states across the country currently require students to take financial education classes. And of those 19 states, just seven of them include state-mandated testing on the subject matter. What this means is that young people are graduating from high school (and sometimes, even college) with a very minimal understanding of how their financial decisions can impact their credit scores and what the importance of a credit score even is.
Due to this lack of formal education, many young people are falling into the same cycle of debt that previous generations have. They’re carrying high credit card debt balances, struggling to afford their monthly expenses, and suffering from low credit scores. Even those who have managed to remain reasonably responsible with their finances may not understand how to check their credit reports or dispute errors/mistakes on their reports.
Helpful Resources for Credit Literacy
If you’re looking for a way to observe National Credit Education Month this March, make an effort to speak with your children or other youth about the importance of credit literacy. Sharing your own experience and struggles can be helpful here (if that’s something you’re comfortable with) and may serve as a cautionary tale of sorts.
From there, you may also consider providing any number of completely free resources for building credit literacy. One excellent resource to explore is the myFICO Credit Education platform, which contains plenty of helpful videos, financial calculators, and answers to commonly asked questions about credit reporting. This resource is 100% free to use and is a great starting point for many who are struggling with the basics of credit reporting and how it works.
Some other helpful (and free) resources for credit literacy that may be worth sharing and exploring for the young and young at heart include:
- You for Youth – Financial Literacy for All
- FDIC – Money Smart for Young People
- Public Library Association – Teen FInancial Literacy
As part of National Credit Education Month, it’s also a good time to check and review your own credit report while encouraging others in your life to do the same. Remember that you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the major reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) each year. Taking the time to pull a copy of these reports and scrutinize them for errors is a must. If you do find any mistakes on your credit report, filing a prompt formal dispute is also a must.
The Bottom Line of Credit Education
Unfortunately, younger generations are still not receiving the practical education they need to make smart financial choices as young adults, especially as it relates to their credit. This is why it is more important than ever for parents to be proactive in making sure their children are getting this information from somewhere before they become adults.
With National Credit Education Month upon us, there has never been a better time to spread awareness to your loved ones. Share these resources and take some time to review your own credit report, too!