Knowing is Half the Battle – Finance 101

Do you ever feel as if you are constantly struggling with adulting? Learning lessons the hard way or completing your task(s) the painfully long way? Full-time struggle bus in effect? SAME! I am well into my 30’s and still finding out new (to me) processes for grown-up tasks that would have been nice to know at my very moody AF age of 17. Not sure if my emo self would have given two shits, but heck, it would have been worth a shot.

Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.

Used in a sentence: Jane is adulting quite well today as she is on time for work promptly at 8am and appears well groomed.  

If you don’t know what I am talking about, consider yourself lucky to have avoided this nonsense and be prepared for prime examples in adulting adversities – finance focused! Or, just skip this blog because you’ve had your shit together since day 1.

I have a list chock-full of fucked up decisions that can lead to long term problems. Of course I am listing these for a friend.  -_-

  • Bouncing checks and incurring overdraft fees that total more than what you have in all of your bank accounts.
  • Buried in student loans that are far greater than your salary.
  • Racking up credit card debt on multiple cards at 30%+ APR.
  • Fucking up your credit score with multiple late payments.
  • Buying a car from the first dealer you encounter and paying sticker price.

Here are my top “adulting” lessons in learning order. Most of you have already experienced all of these “lessons”- but I’m jotting these down for future reference when teaching my children about responsibilities. Here’s to hoping this information is still accurate when that happens. HA!

1. Budgeting

Take your debt (bills) – income = money for savings & entertainment. Easy right? Suuuuuuure, if you remember the balance in your account! Create a spreadsheet to organize and plan. #thatspreadsheetlife

2. Checkbook Balancing

Did you write a check? Subtract that from your balance because yes, that’s money coming out of your account at a later date. Enter that into your spreadsheet.  #spreadsheets4life

3. College Scholarships vs. Grants vs. School Loan Debt

  • Plan A: Try to get a scholarship for your entire college career. Fully funded education.
  • Plan B: Obtain as many grants as you can. Free money.
  • Plan C: Take out school loans (no one wants loans, but if there isn’t any other way, then do so. Mind the interest rate and pay your loans back on time. Otherwise, they will come after you and your firstborn child.

4. FICO/Credit Score

Similar but not the same. Both are used to evaluate credit risk. These scores will follow you and run your life 25/8 in all financial aspects. Want a loan to buy a car? Meet FICO/Credit Score. Want a loan to buy a house? It’s FICO/Credit Score again! In some cases, it may be checked in certain job scenarios. Only rule you need to remember:

  • Pay your credit card bills/loans on time. Every time.

5. Credit Cards

  • Open 2 max with a rating of “good” to “excellent” credit score.
  • Research the cards to find rewards and benefits best suited for your lifestyle along with a tolerable APR.
  • Use around 15%-20% to manage and maintain your credit score.
  • Always pay on time or pay off balances monthly.
  • Pay more than the minimum.

6. Car Loans

  • Study the best and worst times when to buy a car:
  • Research the car in question – especially the safety ratings and consumer reviews. Lifesaving decision here people.
  • Utilize a car pricing report to see what the average price is so you don’t get ripped off.
  • Read reviews on multiple car dealers to find the most reputable company to do business with. Some dealers are shady AS FUCK!
  • Locate car loan companies/banks that will provide the best APR. Why overpay? DERP!

Listen up superintendents of education in all the land of the U.S. of A. – add these important life lessons to the high-school curriculum so that future generations don’t fail!

Some of us weren’t privileged enough to have been handed down this information due to varying circumstances. Having your shit together is everything. Because who wants to pay for mistakes you made as a young adult, well into your 30’s? FML. #lessonslearned

kthanksbye

Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Adulting

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