Dollars and Sense

Char Telkamp

Char Telkamp

One of the reasons that the Collegian started this finical page was to help students be better prepared to enter life after graduation. That includes being as free of debt as possible.

Personally, I wondered if students would really read this page and if they would apply anything learned from these pages if they did read it.

The other day, I was sitting waiting for a class to start, when I noticed two students looking over a bank statement and trying to figure it out.

This brought home for me just how ill-prepared some students are for living on their own.

These same students are the ones mostly likely to fall for credit card companies’ “razzle dazzle” invitation to get involved with credit cards and than find themselves buried so deep in debt when they graduate that they won’t be able to dig their way back out.

Most of us plan on some day getting married, buying our own house and raising a family. Living the American dream, unfortunately, costs money.

To live our dreams means being able to get a loan from our bank. Ideally an unsecured loan, because we won’t own any thing to put up as collateral just starting off.

The first thing the bank is going to do is look at your credit history to see how much of a risk you’ll be.

Being late paying the rent, only paying the minimum payments on credit cards, owing large amounts on your credit cards and missing payments on your utility bills all raise flags to the bank.

Bankruptcy also raises flags. Each of these flags equals points against you in getting that loan you want.

Another area in which your credit history is examined is employment.

We all expect to get that big, high-powered, upper income paying jobs upon graduation. These companies routinely check credit references before scheduling interviews.

Too many flags being raised during the check will result in no interview, no interview – no job.

Recently, an employer came to town and told applicants that they were checking credit references for anyone applying to work for them, from management down to the janitor.

This seemed to really surprise people; they assumed that only management positions would be checked.

But many companies don’t want to deal with the paperwork involved with hiring someone who is habitually late paying their bills or doesn’t pay them at all. In other words someone with bad credit.

All of this leads us back to the point of this page and this column.

We as students, and SDSU as a university, need to do more to better prepare students for living life in the Real World.

Knowing how to be financially independent could be one of the greatest lessons students leave SDSU learning.