Mortgages, health insurance, 401(K)s, house payments, saving and retirement. All normal “adult” things in life. I’ve heard about them through out my high-school and college education, and now as a post-grad I would like to say one thing – I understand VERY little.
The secret is out! If you came up to me and started discussing benefit packages and 401(K)s I wouldn’t be able to contribute to the conversation.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the core basics, but I don’t understand the topics to the full extent. Worse part, it’s starting to matter. I’m reaching the point in life where I am preparing to remove myself from my parents’ insurance and cell phone plan, begin paying for all of my car insurance and establish my credit.
I’ll be the first to admit it, I am extremely blessed with such incredible support from my parents. There allowed me to graduate college without debt and encouraged me to follow my dreams of participating in the Walt Disney World College Program. They pay for 1/2 my insurance and my cell phone (which, I would like to say I am the only 22-year-old without a smart phone) and help me with my finances. The only thing I paid for in college and now in Orlando is gas, groceries, 1/2 of my insurance, miscellaneous bills and fun spending money.
Great. So I am the girl trying to leave the nest with a college education, my polished resume (thanks to seminars and advisors), my life goals and determination.
Where do you learn the rest?! Where in life do you finally look in the mirror and tell yourself that it’s time to cut all the cords from your parents?
This summer I made the 1st step, I acquired my own credit card. Look out world, I’m working on obtaining that perfect three digit number. However, the process wasn’t easy. It reminded me of my freshman year of college: how to you obtain credit if you have no credit? The banks know when you’re on your on your parents’ plan that it isn’t really you paying the bills … and I have never bought a car and have no loans. So after a meeting with my bank to explain that I did in fact have an income, and a quick review of both mine AND my parents’ relationships with the bank, I became the proud owner of my own credit card.
So when am I old enough to know the secret handshake for the grown-up club? I want to know about investing in the stock market, having a good lawyer, an appropriate APR and buying my first house. How do you learn these things? Is it by trial-and-error? Because in this economy, financial mistakes can become very costly. I’ve heard you should start saving for retirement in your early 20s, but how exactly do you begin?
I know how to budget a small income on silly and some-what needed things – but how do you cross the bridge of obtaining a salaried job and budgeting for house-payments, cell phone bills, groceries and everything else?
In high-school I thought I knew it all and it college I thought I was learning it all – now barely dipping my toe into adult-hood, I know I still have so, so much more to learn.