Cash Advantages

Kids and credit cards don't mix. They need to learn how to handle cold, hard cash first.

Among the many topics I write about in this column, one that gets a lot of pushback from parents is my position on credit cards. I'm against teenagers using them because I think most teens aren't mature enough to handle the responsibility.

But a fair number of readers disagree with me. "Using credit cards is a way of life in America, and it's naive to assume that ignoring them will help children avoid misusing them later in life," writes one reader, who also happens to be a financial planner.

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Janet Bodnar

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.