Credit scores: Advice to a college student
Credit scores: If they're high enough, you can get a good credit card. Question No. 2 in this reader mailbag.
What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question.
1. Studying versus working
2. Student credit card question
3. Dealing with extra income
4. Preparing for job review
5. Pension or Roth?
6. Living frugal versus organics
7. Which debt first?
8. Retirement advice for dad
9. Charged-off debts
10. Dealing with rewards points
The Simple Dollar is a blog for those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two. Our busy lives are crazy enough without having to compare five hundred mutual funds – we just want simple ways to manage our finances and save a little money.
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A few weeks ago, I was thinking about purchasing something expensive that I had been saving up for (the actual item is completely irrelevant). I was shopping online for it when I discovered that a person I’ve communicated with many times in the past was having some very deep personal troubles. His child is very, very ill and they have extremely poor health care, all of this coming during a period of career uncertainty.
Rather than buying the item, I decided to wait. Instead, I sent my friend a few dollars to help out.
In the end, what’s more important: some material item I don’t really need or the welfare of a friend when they’re really in a bind?
Q1: Studying versus working
I am 21 years old, and I live in Israel – which means I did 3 years of mandatory army service. I am about 6 months out of the army and am currently working at a fair (for my age and education level) paying job. I want to study Computer Science at the local university, but the tuition is about 10,000 NIS per year. My parents told me they would pay for my first year, and the money I got after leaving the army will pay for another one. Now, university applications don’t start until march, so I definitely have a few more months to save money, and that will pay for the final year.
But to get to my question – I got used in the last few months to being financially independent. In Israel it is not uncommon to live with your parents even until the age of 30+, so it’s not really embarrassing for me to be living at my parents’ (side note, I’m living with my girlfriend), but I would feel really bad have I had to start relying on them for money again. So I my dilemma is this: should I start college next year, and go back to asking for money from my folks, or keep working for another year and save enough money to take care of my needs for at least the first year of university (the hardest one), thus postponing the beginning of my “real” life.
Sit down and talk with them about it. You have demonstrated that you’re independent at this point, and they’re probably thankful for that. Talk to them as an adult.
Lay out the whole situation and ask them what they think about it. It may be something they want to do or it may be something that they’re reticent about – you should be able to figure this out from the conversation.
I think, more than anything, this comes down to your parents’ situation and whether they feel they should help you or want to help you or whether they view you as an entity that they have no obligation towards or desire to help. Neither reaction is wrong per se – it really depends on your relationship and their situation.