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The average cost of a post secondary education in Canada is $80,000. Now it is time to ponder how one is supposed to pay for the 3-4 years of schooling. Why is there so much of the school year left at the end of my money?

The financial services have become an integral part of the university/college orientation programs. The message from the financial advisor is to: "Get a credit card as soon as you start school and use it often to attain financial adulthood" The students for the most part have little or no disposable income. They rely on minimal wage, part time work, Ontario Student Aid and money from good old mom and dad

It seems oh so simple; the student fills in an application for credit card the first week of school with the name, home address, social security number and just sit back and wait to be approved. You may even apply for more then one card from different banks if you are 18 plus years with no need for a co-signer to guarantee payments. The minimum student credit card allotment is $500.00. Wow, if you do the math a first time credit card owner can enjoy living it up at the bars/ restaurants on Richmond Row.

If you check out the fine print you will find out that you have to repay the monies that are charged up in your name. You do not have to endure the pain of making the payments in full. You may instead choose to pay the minimum payment of $10.00 with the balance subject to interest rates of 19.99% per month on the unpaid balance.

Wait a minute: It all seemed so simple at first to tap your credit card for purchases of $100 . Now, my friendly financial advisor expects me, the first time credit card holder, to pay usurious interest payments for using the card.

No one told you that you were supposed to use the card responsibly. That means paying off your balance in full each and every month without fail

Society has reached an infection point on credit cards. The potential for failing to have a credit card is problematic, No positive credit history over time can limit your chances of securing a mortgage to buy your first home because you have no credit history.

The good news:"A recent Canadian University Survey found that 79% of students with a credit card paid of their balance in full each month." Credit cards are ok if students do not abuse the privilege of owning a card. It is all about financial adulthood. If you are not mature please do not sign up for credit card and then be left with a poor credit rating for many years.

Len Lesser is an education career counselor in Dorchester, Ont.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com