School is in session! So, in the educational spirit, we asked our staff what they wished they knew about money when they were younger. Hindsight is 20/20 and their answers did not disappoint:
1. “Going into credit card debt is so easy – getting back out of it is not. Too many newly graduated students get all kinds of credit cards, charge them up and then wonder why their credit score isn’t higher. You do need a credit card to start establishing credit – but never use over half of the available limit, always pay it on time and never spend more than you can afford to pay back within 60-90 days.”
~ Carrie, Branch Manager
Credit cards are a powerful force. On one hand, they are a quick and easy way to establish and build your credit score if the payments are made on time. However, younger card holders are often unknowingly hurting their financial record by over spending, often times maxing out numerous accounts for things they don’t need.
>> Read Credit Scores 101
2. “Start a “ME” savings. With every paycheck, pay yourself first. If you pay yourself like a bill, it makes a super easy way to save. Then whatever is left over, that is what you live on.”
~ Cindy, Member Services Consultant
Mom and Dad are not going to bail you out forever. Fact is, only 23% of Americans have emergency savings to cover six months of expenses. That’s the recommended amount for a good Rainy Day fund. It’s understandable that youth means feeling invincible. But it only takes one medical emergency, a job loss or an event beyond your control to wipe out everything you have. Start saving today!
3.” I wish I would’ve known how to invest and make my money grow for me, so that I could go to school on scholarship…while MAKING MONEY and afterward…be debt free. I also wish I would’ve known TO SAVE MONEY!”
~ Chris, Contact Center
Investing can be risky, but who loves taking chances more than young people?! As you are continuing your education, consider building a general knowledge on investing and how the process works. You may be able to pay for school as you go and your investments grow. Contact a financial advisor with questions on getting started.
4. “Signing up for every retail store credit card just to save 10% is NOT worth it! It may sound like a fantastic idea when you have a stack of clothes to purchase, but you are better off just spending the money that you originally planned on spending and not financing with every store in the mall. I am so glad that Bank of Grandma is the best Listening and Lending lender out there!”
~ Danielle, Learning & Development
You may remember from our post How to Ruin Your Credit in 10 Ways that applying for too many cards in a short period of time can negatively impact both your credit score and your ability to borrow money. Of course the best way to see how your cards are affecting your score is to check your score for free at annualcreditreport.com.
5. “At age 18 my life goal was to have a good job in my field and make a big salary of $40,000, have a house and a car. Little did I know that $40,000 would never be enough to cover the finances of a family of four, especially as I decided that those credit cards that were given to me like candy were like free money.”
~ Bianca, Accounting Manager
Credit cards are usually everyone’s first dip into the credit pool and as you can see the most mentioned money advice from our older (and wiser) selves. An important thing to remember if you happen to overindulge in your youth is to not close accounts even if you choose not to use the card anymore. These older lines of credit impact your debt to utilization ratio and closing them can negatively affect your score.
Don’t let your kids be clueless about money. Together, we can teach them how to avoid these financial faux pas. What would you tell your younger self on how to deal with money? Share your story in the comments.