My son doesn’t want a credit card. I think he needs one.


Q. My son is 28, has money saved and no credit cards. I am trying to talk him into getting a credit card to build credit for a future mortgage. We’re not quite connecting because he has money to pay for stuff so he doesn’t understand why he needs a credit card to borrow money.
— Trying to help

A. We’re glad you’re trying to help your son better understand why credit is important.

His credit score will play an important role in his financial situation as he ages.

At some point, he will probably wish to buy a new car, move into an apartment, buy a house or move to a different job, said John Middleton, a certified financial planner with Brighton Financial in Clinton.

“A credit score, and a reasonably good one, will likely be necessary to determine potential eligibility for loans such as car loans or home mortgages,” he said. “The credit score will also determine how costly a particular loan may be.”

Beyond impacting the ability to borrow, the credit score may also impact his ability to find suitable housing or employment because some landlords and employers may require a specific credit score range to demonstrate dependability, Middleton said.

Per Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that determines the FICO credit score, our credit score is determined by our payment history, the length of our credit history, the amount of available credit used and the mix of credit, Middleton said.

“Starting early building credit is thus valuable as we age through life,” he said. “Here, a potential compromise would be to start with a single credit card — you can evaluate credit card options at websites such as NerdWallet — use the card regularly, but pay off the outstanding balance monthly and prior to the due date.”

This approach enables him to build his credit by establishing a credit history, a strong record of paying on time, and by showing utilization while staying below full use of available credit, he said.

“As his credit score improves, the improved score can potentially help open doors to a new residence and career options,” he said. “This approach also enables him to manage his finances as he is now while establishing and improving his credit score for future opportunities.”

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This story was originally published on Jan. 26, 2022. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.