Don’t Leave Home Without …


Do you remember your first? It was like a rite of passage – a real feeling of being an adult. “No” would no longer be an option. This is how it happened to me.

My belongings were carefully packed in makeshift suitcases. The folks respectfully “busied themselves” with menial tasks, giving me their silent nod of approval. The door to my freedom was wide open.

My folks and I exchanged a few brave goodbye hugs (not really goodbye, more like “I’m ready to leave the nest and fly on my own now”).

I stepped over the threshold to complete financial responsibility. It was as simple as that.

I would not have done it without that card. That was the beginning of my journey with my first credit card. “Don’t leave home without it.” would become part of my life from that day forward.

The card did not come with instructions. Did yours? How did you learn to use credit wisely?

Sadly, in my work I come across many young people who say “I messed up my credit.”

Teaching children financial responsibility is key to helping them stand a better chance of becoming financially stable adults. Most adults need access credit at one time or another to purchase homes, cars, education, for business purposes – you name it.

It follows that early money lessons can help young minds establish an understanding of how credit works so that before they gain access to credit they will understand why and how to use it wisely. (What’s your credit score and how is the FICO calculated?)

Can children be taught about credit before they have access to credit cards? I know so and have done it many times! I would prefer to give them an education in credit, before they get a debt-ucation.

Young children understand sharing and borrowing toys and other belongings, which is a natural introduction to borrowing and lending. In my opinion, this means that they can learn about credit from an early age. That’s why it’s a key component of my “Can I Have Some Money?” books and workshops. Here’s an example.

As I moved on from that first experience using credit into my adult life and my entrepreneurial ventures, I needed to use business credit to grow the business. I also needed everything else, especially coaching! In the beginning not everyone knows how to succeed as your own boss.

So, I got credit and I got a coach.

I am delighted that my favorite business coach Melinda Emerson, aka “Small Biz Lady” is now a spokesperson for American Express OPEN Forum.

This synergy feels like a good one and I will surely follow the leader whose mission is “to end small business failure.”


You can sample the first chapter of my new book LEMONADE SOLD OUT, the story of an elementary school entrepreneur.

About candi sparks

Candi Sparks is a fully licensed financial professional and a Brooklyn mother of two. She works with private clients, business owners, the NYC Department of Education, faith based, non profit and community organizations on financial education and implementing financial strategies for success. Events are fun, interactive and solid financial information. Sparks Fly, financial literacy for YOU(th) Learn more so you can live more! toll free: 866.556.2432
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