Practice What I Preach, Part 5: Super Steps to Financial Independence!

Peter Pan had this wicked curse on him, he never wanted to grow up! That's definitely not the case with me! I have always been ready to grow up, and I still am. All my life, people have always told me, "These are the best years of your life!", "Enjoy college, you'll want to go back someday!" I have to disagree! Since I was 14, I knew I was a career-oriented man, I've started businesses for crying out loud, I'm obviously ahead of where people say a 19 year old should be. Well, I have been making strides towards great financial freedom for when I graduate. I plan on starting my career, and moving to a big city, but of course I have to follow the plan of God, I'm just making sure I cover my personal basis. I hope you take these tips, and use them for your financial benefit! Here are my tips to starting your financial independence as a teenager!

1. Build Credit: Just recently, I applied for my very first credit card! When people here the two C words, it makes them cringe, not me however. I know that having a credit card is one of the biggest responsibilities that you can have, especially as a young adult. Adults always discourage young adults from applying for credit cards, because they don't feel that we can handle them. I say, that if you can handle it, apply for one! The problem that many college students face when they graduate, is that they have no credit! Building credit can help you get a loan for a house, car, grad school etc. Now, I have to say this, if you know you can't handle it, don't get it. The effects of having a credit card can affect someone positively or negatively. My credit card is for one of my favorite stores, but I know, that if I don't have the discretionary income to purchase an item from there, I need to be weary about using my card. That's my biggest tip to young adults who want a credit card, if you can't see yourself paying if off in full, in the near future, then you need to wait. Trust me, that Fendi bag may look really good, but until you know you'll have the money to pay it off...walk away slowly!

2. Get Used to Paying Bills: On Graduation Day, I knew that I wanted to start paying one of my bills. I bought my plan on Verizon, and haven't looked back since. Having the responsibility of paying my cell phone bill is really one of the greatest things that has happened to me as a young adult. Depending on how much my cell phone bill is, I have to gauge everything else for the month, i.e. going out to eat with friends, buying that new pair of boots from Aldo etc. It's been really good having a consistent bill that I have to pay every month. It has helped me with deadlines, and discretion. Along with that, I pay for my gas, groceries and Photoshop every month, although I have those bills, they fluctuate depending on my life situations, but my cell phone bill pretty much is constant! Also, starting to pay your own bill helps relieve your parents of some possible financial burden that they are facing. My dad started to save a lot of money when I started paying my own bill! It's just another way to become financially independent.

3. Keep a Budget: This is one of the hardest things for young adults to do! Why? Because we really don't want to! However, it's extremely beneficial! Last year, I did not keep a budget at all, and then got a rude awakening when I saw an extremely low balance in my bank account, but I was wearing the latest fashions... I have grown up a little since then, and don't nearly spend as much money on clothes, but that's because I started keeping a budget! Keeping a budget is pretty easy if you do these things:

  1. Write Down Everything You Spend Money On- From Groceries, to Gas, to Cups of Coffee, it's mandatory you know how much money you spend
  2. Find Out How Much Money You Make- If you have a consistent job, find your hourly wage, if your job is scattered, determine your wage, and an average of how many hours you work a week
  3. Calculate How Much Money it Takes for You to Survive- Be realistic, if you have a full closet of clothes, you don't have to spend $100 per month to survive, that's absurd! Only calculate the basic necessities for survival.
  4. Add In Other Things, If There Is Discretionary Income- Things like clothes, Starbucks, trips to other cities, should be added last, because that's what you buy with your discretionary income!
4. Save Your Money: I have a problem with this sometimes, because I feel like I have to find a purpose for every single dollar that I make, when I forget that saving money is giving a purpose to the dollar too! I applaud anyone who is younger than 24 with an active savings account! I wish I could turn back the clock, and save some of the money that I've gotten over the years, I would be one profitable young man (more than I already am)! If it's for a new car, a new watch or even just for a rainy day, save a little of your money! Even if it's $10 from every paycheck, if you get paid every 2 weeks for a year, then that's $260 per year in your savings account! There is no down side to saving money, because you're truly tucking it away, for a greater purpose!

I really hope you young adults out there, take heed to the advice that I'm giving! I've seen it make an amazing impact on my life, and I want to share that same impact with you!

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