I’ve heard it all. Or so I thought.

I’ve seen adult children in tears because they found out —  after pulling their credit reports —  that a parent had used their information to get credit cards or had put utility and cellphone bills in their name.

Then this week, I read a question to real estate experts Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin.

A parent, with bad credit, wanted to know if it was wise to get a home loan in her 17-year-old’s name.

The background: The mother lost her home to a foreclosure. She’s renting now but estimates with the low interest rate environment she could get another home loan and save on her housing costs.

“The rent is high in Chicago where I live,” she wrote. “If I bought another house and got a mortgage, that would save me $300 a month, which would allow me to pay my debt and get my credit back together.”

She wanted to know if this was a good strategy.

Glink and Tamkin’s advice was measured and right on the money. They didn’t berate the mother for this monumentally bad idea and of course pointed out the teenager is too young to be able to get a mortgage.

But can I address the irresponsible, selfish motive behind the question?

I get that this mother may be stressed and frustrated with her financial situation. Still, why would she want to pull her child into her money mess?

Let’s say she waited until he turned 18 and maybe – although highly unlikely – he could qualify for a home loan, why would she put that much financial pressure on him? She would be dragging him into her financial world at the start of his adult life.

There’s just so much wrong with her even asking the question.

Yet, I see this type of thing far too often. I’ll never forget the tears streaming down the face of a young man who discovered his mother had put so much credit in his name that he couldn’t qualify for a student loan to attend college. He had only found out about the years of fraud as I was working with him to figure out why his credit history was so bad.

And what was worse, the only way he could get out from under the debt was to file a police report. I told him he should.

He couldn’t.

So this young man resigned himself to work two jobs to dig out of debt he never accumulated. And his mother wasn’t even remorseful. She felt entitled to use his name to get the credit she wanted. And, I’d like to point out, a lot of the debt wasn’t for necessities.

The mother asking the mortgage question may not have planned to commit identity theft. Her son might have agreed to go along with her plan. But the very idea would be stealing away her child’s financial peace so she could get credit. Having a mortgage is no joke and could prevent him from getting his own home loan when the time comes, especially if his mother’s financial situation doesn’t improve and he doesn’t pay the mortgage as they might have agreed.

Does it need to be said that you shouldn’t use your children to get credit or to dig yourself out of a financial hole?

I asked a question that I already know the answer to based on my own experience with broke and broken people.

Yes, it needs to be said.

Don’t use your children to get credit.

Here’s some more reading on this issue.
Parents Are Ruining their Children’s Credit through Identity Theft

— This Reddit feed and comments were enlightening:
To all the children who have had their credit harmed by their parents.

Color of Money question of the week
Have you had a relative steal your identity and if so what did you do? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “Credit in your child’s name” in the subject line.

Live chat today
I’m live every Thursday from noon (ET) to 1 p.m. to take your personal finance questions. So what’s on your mind money wise? Join me the discussion this week. Here’s the link to participate in the chat. If you miss it, use the link to read the transcript.

Old and outdated FICO credit scores here to stay at least until 2019
Credit scoring needs an uplift, but Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won’t be giving them a facelift. As the Post’s Kenneth R. Harney reported this week, there will be no modernization of the controversial scoring systems before mid-2019 at the earliest.

Anybody who has borrowed knows how important his or her credit score is in the lending process. A high score can lead to a better loan deal, meaning a lower interest rate. Score poorly and you pay much more for the money you borrow.

FICO, formerly known as Fair Isaac Co., created the credit modeling system used by most lenders. Scores range from 300 to 850 and the higher the score, the better.

Many consumer advocates have complained that older FICO models don’t fairly assess a borrower’s creditworthiness.

“Fannie’s and Freddie’s models date to the early years of the past decade and have long been superseded by versions that are more consumer-friendly,” Harney wrote. “For example, the latest FICO model ignores score-depressing items found in many consumers’ credit files such as paid-off collections, and it is more lenient on medical bill collection accounts.”

Here’s why we need an update, Harney points out. “One major competitor to FICO, VantageScore Solutions, offers a model that claims to score more than 30 million consumers who are ‘unscoreable,’ or invisible to older FICO models, because these people have only minimal data on file at the credit bureaus. VantageScore says that if added to Fannie’s and Freddie’s menus, its model could ‘expand mortgage lending to Hispanics and African Americans to purchase homes by 16 percent.’”

So what’s standing in the way of the move to a more modern version of FICO?

You know it is about the money.

Companies would have to abandon the old scoring model to purchase an upgraded version. Isn’t it always the consumer who pays when government or business won’t do the right thing?

Dow 22,000 milestone isn’t so great for bargain shoppers

The Dow Jones industrial average passed the 22,000 mark for the first time last week. And it was big news.

For a fun and financially geeky look at the Dow numbers you have to read Allan Sloan’s column from last week: The Dow is back at it. Let’s have some fun with numbers.

I wondered what readers thought of the Dow 22,000 benchmark. So I asked: Do you think the stock market is too hot? Are you concerned about a crash?

Adam Watson of Hyattsville, Md., wrote, “Unless you work in finance, the Dow Jones industrial average doesn’t matter! For most of us, there are more relevant concerns much closer to home — whether to hire out that back yard landscaping job or put in a few weekends of backbreaking work, how to cut down the dining-out expenditures, how to max out a 401(k), whether it’s better to save in an IRA or a Roth IRA. My sole concern about a soaring market is sticking to my allocation plan and rebalancing assets between stocks and bonds as appropriate. I’ll happily admit that retirement savings in the market look really nice on paper, but it will only truly matter when we eventually flip the switch to RETIRED and start drawing down from it.”

“I’m very concerned about the stock market, particularly for my aging parents, one of whom is in cognitive decline and may need long-term care at some point,” wrote Tracy from Washington, D.C. “They just pulled some money out and put it in a three-year CD with a 1.9 percent interest rate. Not sure where else to put it.”

Thomas J. Druitt of Paducah, Ky., wrote, “I am not concerned about a crash, at least not through the balance of 2017 and probably not through all of 2018 either. Longer-term 401(k) plan investors should have no such concerns. Even if the Dow Industrial Average fell by 20 percent between [the] 22,000 mark and the long-term up-trend line, the U.S. stock market would still be in a very powerful long-term upward price trend.”

“The Dow hitting 22,000 is pretty meaningless unless you own the 30 stocks that comprise the Dow,” wrote Clyde Kluge, Oklahoma City, Okla. “I have not looked at the performance of the 30 individual stocks over the last six months but what I have been reading is the current run-up in the Dow has been driven by 2 stocks: Boeing and Apple. Am I worried? Not really. Over the long term the stock market has shown about a 10 percent per year growth. There are going to be bad times but as you point out the fire sale is a great time to buy. Is it too late to invest? No. Investing is like any project. You are never going to reach your goal until you start.”

Color of Money columns this week
Knowledge isn’t power. The right knowledge is power.

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Have a question about your finances? Michelle Singletary has a weekly live chat every Thursday at noon where she discusses financial dilemmas with readers. You can also write to Michelle directly by sending an email to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read more Color of Money columns, go here.