I know that sounds a little harsh but when I explain my reasoning, you'll get it.
This week, I decided that I would start putting the money away to buy a home- in cash. This is Penny Living. Do you think I want to take a chance on a mortgage loan on a home I can't afford? Hell, naw!
Out of curiosity and being a responsible human being, I decided to check my credit report. This is essential to keep myself out of debt. I do it every year. I spent years getting myself out of debt and I want to stay that way.
The first mortgage loan, I considered it a fluke. I figured, "Hey, nobody is going around stealing my identity and applying for mortgage loans." But yeah, they effing were. They weren't doing a very good job, but they were.
Naturally, this sketched me out a bit but luckily the information gave me a pretty good decent idea of who did so.
Three things are happening:
1. My bank account was shut down without any explanation or reasoning. Luckily, I don't keep a lot of money in there because I don't trust banks. Hmm, wonder why.
2. Bill collectors are calling my family for me.
3. This is pissing me off.
Like any parent would lovingly, do my parents raised me to be loving, naive, and trusting. Those are all good qualities in some way but now being almost 27-years-old, it's not. Not in this generation. I'm bringing new light to a more modern practice: teach your kids to not trust anyone.
My dad gave me a pretty good tool when I was younger. He said, "Promise me you will never co-sign anything. That way, when you're an adult, you can say you promised your dad you didn't." That was that. I never co-signed anything.
I'm pretty sure I know exactly how my identity was stolen, who did it, and why. Being the sweet, loving naive teenager that I was, I had been forced to live in a world where I didn't really want to. I was asked for my information for taxes. "Sure," I told them.
Then I lovingly handed out my social security number like an M&M without consulting my parents because I was legally adult and knew everything in life. (Ha!)
I let them claim me as an dependent, as was legally right. Then, I went on my merrily little way and lived my life while two mortgage loans and one auto loan was applied for without my knowledge.
Luckily, those loans, as far as I know, were not accepted and were declined. For the first time in my life, I'm glad I don't own a giant home or a car worth over $25,000 that I could have been stuck paying for in the years to come. What else has happened? I don't know. Frankly, that scares me.
Through this experience, I realize that I'm being lied to every damn day. Every day, I check my e-mail and find something like my Apple iPod account was suspended. Which is interesting. Because I don't have one.
Or, I find out my account was hijacked, or suspended, or something else and 90% of the time it's a phishing scam or someone in Nigeria needs help or someone is interested in hiring me for printing checks which are all freaking scams.
I can't even advertise my business for more than 10 minutes without at least one email asking if Ahmad's assistant can pick up my used sofa for $5,000 if I return the rest of the cash back to Timbuktu.
What is my point?
1. Teach your kids to not trust people with their information.
2. Help your kids find out how to start saving for home before they move out. Early. Way earlier. Like age 13 and putting 15-20% of everything in the bank earlier. I know this sounds unrelated but it's NOT.
3. Don't make them doormats. Obeying is a great quality to have as a child most of the time. In adulthood, it's not always a great quality to have. "No" can be an exception.
4. Let the kid dream and help them dream.
When I was about 13, I would create blueprints of homes and design my dream house. I would scan through and through of the free Real Estate catalogs and say, "I want this house. I like that house. I can live in that house. I don't like that house."
Be supportive and help. If they make mistakes, so what. Who cares? As long as their identity isn't stolen. I'm serious, you guys. You've got 18 years of children and the rest you have adults. Don't let them be screwed over before they even have a chance to start.