Ask Dave: Protection from credit sharks
Dear Dave: Is there some way to put a block on a credit report prior to sending a kid to college so that the credit card hustlers can't get to them? - Trevor
Dear Trevor: No, there's not. Unfortunately, in today's culture, that's part of becoming an adult. When you hand them car keys, there's no way to put a block on how they drive. And when they turn 21, there's no way to put a block on what they ingest.
About the only thing you can do is to teach your kids to the best of your ability, and be a good parent and good example. Teach them why debt is dumb, and show them how it eats away at their ability to save money and build wealth.
And for goodness sake, don't use credit cards yourself. Kids can smell a hypocrite a mile away.
Dear Dave: I'm a new doctor, and I drive a car that has more than 200,000 miles on it, is 10 years old and has a few dings in the doors. I've heard image is everything when you're a doctor, but I like not having a car payment. Should I just get over being self-conscious about my old car? - Mario
Dear Mario: I like not having a car note, too. I'd walk, ride a bike, or drive your car with a great, big smile on my face before I picked up a car payment.
As a new, young doctor, you've probably got six figures in student loans hanging over your head right now. So you need to get out from under all that before you start thinking about driving something fancy. If this car is truly on its last legs, then I'd say save up for a few months then upgrade to a good, reasonably-priced, used car.
Just remember, a Mercedes or BMW doesn't prove you're a doctor, and it doesn't mean you're a good doctor, either. You just need to worry about what's smart for you instead of what other people think.
Dear Dave: I'm 24, and I don't have any debt except for a small student loan. I'm going to law school to study international law, and I have a scholarship that pays 25 percent. However, I won't really be able to work much while I'm studying. How can I do this without taking on more debt? - Amy
Dear Amy: If I were you, I'd do some online research on all the governmental agencies out there. I'll bet there's one that's willing to pay for your law school if you would agree to work for them for a few years after you get out. It's kind of an indentured servitude deal, but that's a lot better than taking on $150,000 or more in debt.
The scholarship is a good thing, but we both know it will only scratch the surface when you're talking about law school. Think about this, Amy. You got the scholarship by finding a good opportunity and asking for it, right? There's a ton of scholarship money out there, and millions of dollars of it goes unclaimed every year.
If I were you, I'd get into the business of hunting money. Track down every possibility you can, and use every honest thing to your advantage.
For financial help, visit daveramsey.com.