Credit Report Fraud in your child's name? Clues, proof, and how to fix it!

Hello.  

I'll never forget the night my husband after reviewing our college-aged daughter's credit card that she had "purchased" a 32" flat screen tv.  

WHAT?  We had her on a tight spending, she kept herself on a spending plan, and had never given us an ounce of worry in this regard.  But a FLAT SCREEN TV?  

Well, of course it turned out to be that her credit card # had been "skimmed".  In other words, someone had digitally lifted her credit card information while they had her credit card to check out with at a restaurant.  

True confession, however.  We had trained her to review her credit charges and look for irregularities.  Who discovered the error?  Her dad.  

Take heart.  No matter how many plans you put in motion, bad things can happen to good people.  

How do you know if your child's credit report/scores and more are in jeopardy?

Of course, review the charges.   Captain Obvious, right?  

What if...

Continue Reading...

Trick or Treat: Teens, Safety, and The Learning Long View

Trick Or Treat: Teens and Safety

We will take the “treats” please!  Our favorite candy this time of year?  Popcorn balls and Butterfingers.  We know you have a favorite, too.  

Right about now, all our teens are doing the same thing we did at their age - strategizing for a fun gameplan on Oct. 31st

We thought long and hard about this week’s blog because we normally talk about helping other parents make the last season with their nearly-flown kids a roaring success. From preparing in high school for “life after English Class” to teen taxes, we’ve been there.  But Halloween safety and life-time payoff teaching moments?  Yes!

In point of fact, any safety guidelines we discuss here actually work no matter what the time of year or the event.  After football games, after class parties and after a group party at their best bud’s house all qualify.  Did we mention college?  Hmmm.

Also, every...

Continue Reading...

What . . . my child might have a credit report ???

 SUMMARY 

Teen:  "Mom, can I have a credit card?"
Mom"No"
              OR
Teen: "Mom, can I have a credit card?"
Mom: "Yes"
 
What do these two answers have in common?
Either answer has the potential resulting in your child having a credit report in their name.
 
What's a credit report?  
Remember that diary that you may have kept growing up?  That's almost what a credit report is.  It's a "file" that holds all the information on your debt and payment history.  
 
How can they have a credit report on your teen?  
Possibly, here are 2 ways:
  • if you have added them as an "authorized user" on your own credit card, they might have a report in their name.  Some issuing companies report financial information for both the primary holder AND any authorized users.  You'll need to check with them.
  • or their identity may have been stolen resulting...
Continue Reading...

The $100,000+ Question

Carrie:  Mom, I’d like to go to ABC College, I think.
Mom:   Honey, how much does it cost?
Carrie:  Well, their website says it is $25,000 per year plus incidentals. 
Mom:   Incidentals?  Let’s assume that’s $5,000 for transportation, clothing and miscellaneous.
Carrie:  Ok, that’s $30,000 per year.
Mom:   {pauses}
Mom:   Honey, is it worth $120,000 to do this?

The above conversation is happening everywhere.  

But generally, what conversation is NOT happening? 

One week later the smart mom asks . . .  

Mom:  honey, after applying scholarships, loans and the like, we are still looking at $25,000/yr which puts us at $100,000+ for four years.
Carrie: Mom, does that work for us?
Mom:  We will try to swing it with your help, of course. 
Mom:  {pause}
Mom:  Honey, have you thought about whether college is right for what you want to do?

 So what do...

Continue Reading...

Don't Teach Your Kids to Budget

Budget.  That’s right . . . budget.    Things have changed. 

Have you used that word 6-letter word “budget” lately?  Go ahead and be honest with yourself.  You probably have.  But let me make a case on why you need to stop.   Times have changed.   Consider the following:

"Budgets" are Constricting

“Mom, I need $20.”   (funny how it used to be they only asked for $10!) 

“Honey, I just gave you $20 like…yesterday.  Can’t you budget your money?”

And there it is.  That word, that horrible sinking feeling word. The implied connotation to our kids and our “almost growns” is . . .  you can’t buy the things you want, you will never have enough money, and you are a one emoji away from busted.  Life is one trick multiple question with “none of the above” always included. 

Need stats to support this? 

...

Continue Reading...

EASY Debt Example to teach your "almost grown" kids

 SUMMARY

Money and "stuff" are the granddaddy of all motivators.  Calling Santa . . . !

Thrill of Victory (the purchase) AND Agony of Defeat (the debt)

Movies, books, gas, electronics.  Where's that big guy in the red suit?  Well, he's not around, but those wishes for "stuff" ARE. Even if you aren't a believer in credit cards, and you prefer debit cards or cash, nearly everyone has a credit card or so it seems to your child.  They are soaking up illustration by illustration of credit cards in real time.  It's like an action movie but instead of Tom Cruise being the hero, it's a credit card.  

At JG we want things made easy.  Last lessons are sometimes difficult to teach but today you can learn how to teach DEBT in a dramatic and easy fashion.  Just an fyi, we are not against credit cards.  We ARE against credit card debt and credit card abuse.  More on that another day.

Please watch the 4 minute video if you can.  We...

Continue Reading...

NOW is the time to set up Voting Eligibility for your 18+ Year Old


 SUMMARY

We’ve talked so much in the past about how to instill in our kids the values and motivations to be successful.  As parents we want our kids to be achievers, take responsibility, and own the world around them.  You’ve worked hard to instill in them a reliable set of practices, habits and commitments that will help carry them through to life, marriage, and maybe grandkids! 

Now comes an important task that you can't do until they are near aged 18.  

Do you remember when they first voted at their high school for class officers?  Or helped a friend run for office?  Hopefully your kids school did that.  I have to tell you that I never had the courage to run for a school office.  I was camera shy in  high school – and here I sit in front of a camera.  Who knew!  I had my finger in many pies, but just not the running for office one.  But my kids did. 

Little did I realize, but after they won...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.