Major key alert people! I have been reminiscing a lot about my university days and one of the areas where my mind keeps going to is money. Being a full grown “Adult” for a few years now has made me think back to some money keys I wish I knew at 18.
I grew up somewhat educated about money and the value of it (big up Mummy and Daddy Reet)! But as is often said “Experience is the best teacher” and there is no better education in personal finance than earning money for yourself and being in the driving seat fully without bank of Mom and Dad.
Here are some things I think every 18 year old should know about money.
1. Consistency is key
Wealth does not come overnight (unless you steal it). I sometimes go into panic mode when the year is coming to an end and I am nowhere near my saving goals, at which point I start trying to write some arithmetic defying budgets. e.g. Trying to survive one week with 1/4 what i’ve been surviving on for the previous weeks in the year. You can’t cheat maths, 1+1 will always be 2. Be consistent and reasonable with your savings and you will watch your money grow.
2. Mind over matter
Managing money is more in the mind than it is physical. Like the popular saying goes, “What the mind can conceive, it can achieve”. So the key to being financially responsible is not in just saying at the beginning of the year how much you want to have saved, you have to believe it and set your mind to it every single day.
3. It has to be a Lifestyle
Similar to the previous point. Managing personal finance has to be a lifestyle rather than a makeshift exercise every quarter or at the beginning of every year. It has to be committed to every single day. Sometimes you’ll fall off the wagon but this is where your mind comes in, to pick you back up. Take time to learn your spending patterns and understand what your incoming vs outgoings are and plan accordingly.
4. Credit History
This one I was the most clueless about until recently. Especially if you live in a leveraged economy like England, USA etc where most things are bought on credit rather than full payment. From phone contracts, to housing, to cars; all of these are hinged on your credit history and score and so you need to start nurturing it as soon as you can. Never miss a payment and always pay your bills on time. The saying of “What you don’t know won’t hurt you” does not work here. Get your credit report from one of the providers, I personally recommend Noddle if you want a free service or Experian if you don’t mind paying for a slightly better service (UK only). Equifax can be used in the US too.
I hope these can help you or someone you know, 18, younger or older to begin thinking about personal finance and planning for the future.
Until Next Time,
The Reet Petite