Teach your kids about money: 9 dos and don’ts

8. DO: Acknowledge the pros and cons of credit cards

David R. Frazier/DanitaDelimont.com/Newscom/File
A nine-year-old boy pays for gasoline at the pump with a credit card in Boise, Idaho, in May. Even professionals disagree as to when children are old enough to handle credit cards responsibly.

Credit cards can mislead even grown adults, and bring on years of debt and regret. They are still a necessary part of life, and crucial to establish credit. But they can come off looking like free money to a youngster. Experts and parents have reached no universal agreement as to when teens, or even college students, should handle their own plastic. Nevertheless, pre-paid credit or debit cards are both tools for showing kids how to budget, and for emphasizing the discipline it takes to pay off a credit card every month.

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