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Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

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Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

Had added him to several of my cards when he was eight. Taught him about money, credit, and spreadsheets.
He has worked since he was old enough. When he turned 18 I helped him choose and apply for a couple of cc's.
He was awesome the first year. Then he had a couple of times that he ran them up just to enough that he couldn't pay down immediately. I got on to him and he got them paid.  Several months later, he had some expensive car repairs on his old beater.
I advised him to use his card and we got him a bt cc that we had intended on paying off in several months.  Didn't happen.
He also started running up the other two. I took over making sure his payments were made.

He got a better paying job and asked me to cosign for a better car, because the beater broke down again! I told him no and the beater continued to be a money pit. I finally gave in and cosigned for great used car with a low payment. With no tickets and no accidents his insurance sky rocked to 2.5 times his car pmt!  I started shopping for insurance, as he is actually on my policy.  No one could beat the rate we had, because of all the discounts! (I shopped with and without a broker).

He and I have fought continuously because of his spending habits. Stupid stuff!  Starbucks, games, clothes online. Just crap. I have told him over and over that they will get nervous and shut him down. I have told him I will sell the car if I have to. The other day, I told him he has 60 days to get his crap together or he is out! I told him if he isn't in school or not doing anything to better himself, then he shouldn't have the advantage of a free ride! I'm not sure I could kick him out, though. I think I would be too afraid of where he wind up. Even if any of his friends would take him in, they are worse off than him.

He had promised to get on board and get things under control. We talked about chosing schools.  He promised to get a second job. In fact, I have watched him apply for jobs. Then I go online to check his cards and found he is still racking up more debt for pure crap!  I was livid!

For the past several months he hasn't given me enough money to cover the car and insurance.  Meanwhile, I'm making sure his cards are paid along with the rest. While my bills are paid, I have an interest free bt that I am trying to knock out that was used to help several family members (but they are paying!).  So being shorted every month by him is keeping me from paying more on mine.

He is currently at almost 93% on disco and over 70% on Amex. I half tempted to not pay his cards in hopes they will shut them down!
I've been waiting for them to balance chase him. In fact; I've been hoping they would!  Not as of yet!  I am so torn on this and it just breaks my heart!  I really thought I was helping him!  I really regret even introducing him to credit so young! I blame myself for this and don't know what to do. I can only 'make' him do so much, and he is aware of it.

I even sat him down with his spreadsheet and discussed how he could get it paid off with working another job and again---went over how important it is to pay your bills and have the ability to pay your bills. It seems he's paying attention and willing---until I'm not around to monitor it! How do I get through to him? He's seen me struggle. He has seen me work way more extra hours to be able to afford things. I am not extravagant. I think I have too much for him, but I how do undo this from here on out, without being too harsh or making decisions I will regret?

Sorry for the long long rant/vent. I guess I've been holding too much in for too long!

EQ 817, EX 815, TU 813 (Updated 1/5/18: TU 843

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Message 1 of 15
Established Member

Re: Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

Sorry to hear what your going through with your son. It's always tough when were trying to instill the good in our children and there just not getting the message were trying to send. Hopefully things will get better. I myself is getting ready to start teaching my son the same exact things about money, credit, finances, etc. I'm hoping he retains the information the way he's suppose to with his actions following suit. Praying things turn around for you. 

Message 2 of 15
Established Contributor

Re: Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

I think young people often don't understand the consequences of their actions. Some life lessons just don't seem to be learned through osmosis. Does your DS know that poor credit management will hurt his credit score?  Probably. Does your DS understand the consequences of poor credit?  Probably not. If asked he could probably recite the normal list "Can't get credit, can't buy a house, can't apply for certain jobs." but does he truly understand the agony of dealing with a credit world while having sub-par credit? I doubt it, and it isn't easy to learn without first hand experience.


Related, when a parent bales out a child, they aren't just saving a child from their own actions, the parent is also replacing the fear factor. A missed payment should mean "Oh no, my car might be repossessed."  but for many children a missed payment means "My parent will pay it and be angry at me for a few days until I pay." A safe environment also makes it hard to learn the tougher life lessons.

Message 3 of 15
Frequent Contributor

Re: Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

His behavior isn't unusual for young people.  Some just have to learn the hard way where it takes a few big rejections due to bad credit to force them to straighten up.  I wasn't perfect either due to being too laxed about due dates when I was in college as I didn't fully understand how important credit was back then. But my parents never co-signed for me nor added me to their cards so it was my own problem. 


Though easier said then done, I'd cut him of your credit so he can't harm you and then let him start to face the consequences of his decisions.  This was a mistake my parents made with my older brother in several ways.  By putting off the day of reckoning they just made it worse for him in the long run. 


If the car isn't close to being paid off, then I suggest selling it unless he can give you the money for the payment each month as you can't trust him to pay it and ruin your credit.  If he can't regularly do so, then follow through.  When I was young, I lived with a very cheap car (with no payments) where I had to do some of my own repair work to keep it running until I had been working for awhile. A Haynes repair manual for my make/model was a good investment.


You have more than done enough for him.  He wants to be an adult, so let him take responsibility like one.





Current FICO8: EQ:777, TU:754, EX:761 | 2x 30 day lates 4.5-6yrs ago
AAoA: 10 years; AAoOA: 13 months; Credit Length: 21 years
INQ Eq: 3 / Tu: 5 (4 for auto) / Ex: 9 (5 for auto)
Message 4 of 15
Senior Contributor

Re: Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

I have been through this with oldest son. I think irresponsible is his middle name. He milked the situation for years by getting jobs then not showing up for work because of lame excuses til they fired him.  The only things that motivated hin were when we reoped  a car in our name he was driving and kicking him and taking him to the homeless shelter because he refused to either go to school fulll time or work full time. We gave both options but he took option  c do not go to school do not work .   His credit is terrible.   

Message 5 of 15
Established Contributor

Re: Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

You've done a great job showing him *how* to budget and balance credit cards, but sometimes you just can't help them from themselves. I often think about how I should have listened to my mom about certain things when I was younger, but the truth is it just felt like she was trying to "control" me, rather then helping me. The only way I have learned anything in life is the hard way lol. And it sounds like that's what he needs. If you're always there to bail him out, there are no REAL consequences for him. I knew that credit was important, I just didn't realize HOW important. I figured buying a house was such a far away possibility that I didn't have to worry about it until later. Safe to say, that lesson has been learned.

October 2019:

Message 6 of 15

Re: Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

A bit of perspective.  Really quick as I do not want you to feel worse than you already do at present. 

Take a deep breath. Please.  Do you ever get the feeling that the universe is sending you more than 

enough messages to prompt you to act.  Well, the fact of the matter is that your son wants his independence from you.

He simply does not know how to do it very constructively.  This is just a case of good ole, rebellion.  

The problem is how do we help and not enable bad behaviors.  We say "No".   The message you have shown is that you are in a partnership and you are the one in control.  If he nods or agrees, you sit down with him and take control. That sets him up for a missed opportunity to build confidence.  Budgets are basic math but he needs to do his own budget. He also needs to understand that he has spending triggers. What ever is causing him to or swaying him from self-control in light of a budget is unimportant unless his budget does not include paying himself first and that means excuse the expression but guilt-free blow money for the fun stuff, savings in to an emergency account (liquid $1K), savings fully funded (takes time but 3 to 12 months of expenses), and retirement and passive income savings (so stocks that can be liquidated, and index funds and the like for future savings).  To have a cushion between you and an a car repair is more important than ever if you are going to force a kid to buy a beater, first have them save up for a sinking repair fund.  He can actually give up the expensive car and insurance and still do a beater, again - it will not be forever (watch the drive free cars video with him).  Why not try a beater again and go with a reputable mechanic for about $50 to $100 an hour this time to auction?  That financed car should be the first to go.  Also, any equity in the car can go towards the beater and the liquid emergency fund once you sell it. The rest can go towards the credit card debt.  


So here is a link for some items that will help him in his particular age group. The Graduate Survival Guide is such a good read for someone in his age bracket.  You can find it here:


Here is a link to a move out not kick out video:  


Saving plan starts at around 12:29 mark


Drive Free Cars video:  (Show this first if at all possible)


Financial Peace University (Watch with your spouse  and family- this is turning point) Retired and in no debt in 15 years or less with new habits) - See a portion of it in this excerpt from Ben and Authur


Ben and Authur -


I hope this helps, just my two cents but best of luck!

TU 791| EQ 795 | EX 784
As of 06/01/2019: 818 Eq 797 TU 821 Ex
Message 7 of 15
Regular Contributor

Re: Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

My parents raised us with the mentality of always be saving, and so on. With brother and myself still had to go ahead and drive the car off the cliff anyways. LOL. With my parents, there were no bailouts. Period.


They did a good job of teaching us the value of a dollar as children. It didn't always stick. We didn't get an allowance. We got a commision.......The more we did around the house, the more we got. Laziness and mediocrity were always rewarded with $0.


As young adults, my brother learned the hard way. He actually became homeless before mom and dad stepped in. At that point he finally got it thru his head what a budget and lifestyle is supposed to be according to your income. While living with mom and dad, he had to pay rent, groceries, utilities, etc.


Message 8 of 15
Established Contributor

Re: Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

Dont beat your self up, you did your part as a dad. He is young and wants to show you he is in control. Just take your training wheels off(AU' s, the car and insurance, and taking care of min payments). Hopefully, when its either have the money or he can buy games, clothes, or pay his rent, he will get it. I learned the hard way but got on track. I am just teaching my kids some basics but not adding them to my credit ever.  They have been able to take their allowances and birthday money last as they spend some and save some(keep it simple for now). 

Message 9 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Regret I Ever Helped DS Get Credit!

Thank you for the support everyone!  I've calmed down some, now.  He has picked up a second job, but I'm waiting to see if he's truly serious about getting back on track.  I haven't seen him enough to talk to him. We'll see.  I really hope he gets it together. I'd hate to see him struggle for years because he made dumb mistakes about credit and money for several months. I gave him too much freedom too soon.  That, and he's been coddled. I didn't do him any favors.  



EQ 817, EX 815, TU 813 (Updated 1/5/18: TU 843

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Message 10 of 15
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