As you reach adulthood and head off to college or begin making headway on your career, you’re probably too busy thinking about exam notes or business meetings to consider your financial future. You have decades of world exploration ahead of you, and now is the time to ensure your finances can support you through your journey. Check out these financial tips to help you get your footing, stay on solid ground, and secure your future.
1. Learn About Credit Now
Did you know your credit score will affect you for the rest of your life? When you reach adulthood, you have almost no credit. This means you’ll need to do what you can to build your score and keep it high.
Remember, misusing credit now means it will be harder for you to own a home, get a business loan, or even open a bank account in the future. Do your research and check out your score at the three major credit bureaus before making any big moves.
2. Practice Good Spending Habits
Practice good spending habits now. Of course, you should pay your rent, utilities, and other expenses on time. Financial strength goes beyond the basics, though. Consider how you spend the rest of your money as well. Are you spending too much cash with your friends and relying on credit cards to pay bills or buy groceries? Do you push bills off until they’re past due?
These factors determine how secure you’ll be at 30, 50, or even 70 years old. Create a budget and include entertainment money in it. That way, you know you’ll have money to have fun without going overboard.
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3. Choose the Right Credit Card
As soon as you turn 18 or enroll in college, the credit card offers are likely to start rolling in. Don’t sign up for more than one card, and don’t sign up for the wrong one.
Consider the offers carefully. Compare the fees and interest rates for each card, read the terms and conditions and consider choosing a secure credit card that requires a deposit. Secure cards allow you to keep your limit low to prevent overspending while still building your credit score. Avoid using features like cash advance options but do opt for cards that provide cashback rewards.
4. Report to Credit Bureaus
Many people don’t realize it, but it’s a lot easier to hurt your credit score than it is to bring it up. That’s because late payments for everything from utility bills to medical bills count against your score. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for positive notes. For example, a paid mortgage helps your score, but paid rent does not. Utility bills, rent-to-own stores, and a range of other places do not report your on-time payments to the credit bureaus. Luckily, you do have some options.
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A company called ERentPayment will report your paid rent to two of the major credit bureaus for about $10 per month. However, you’ll need your landlord to be willing to sign up for the program as well. If he or she isn’t, you have another option. Experian offers a program that allows users to connect their bank accounts to its app. It tracks your added payments to update your credit score based on rent, utilities, cell phone payments, and even your Netflix payment.
Above all else, remember that everything has a learning curve. Adulthood is a learning process. Life itself is meant to be explored. Some people are great at saving money. Others need to save for a specific goal or find other ways to motivate themselves. The key is to find what works for you and your financial needs. You will need to know about fiduciary financial advisor