When I was a teenager, I truly was one of those sophomoric children who thought they were an adult. I walked around in my beanie and Converse shoes, thinking I had all the answers, or that I at least knew the best way to find them.
Since the new year has rolled around, I’ve been reevaluating my money. I’ve changed the way I think about it since 2015, nonetheless when I was a teenager with all the answers. Here are three supposed truths I thought I had stumbled upon back in the day that have been debunked by experiencing life as an adult.
Credit Cards Are Pure Evil
When I was a teen, I thought there was no way to use credit cards responsibly. They were a trap that only the foolish didn’t see through. At one point or another, they’d ensnare you with interest and late fees, destroying your life quicker than you could fill out the application.
To be fair, this is the plight of many who get into credit card debt. When I was in college, it was still commonplace to see credit card pariahs sitting at sandwich shops, offering a free meal to anyone who filled out an application. They were preying on young, broke students who obviously didn’t have the funds to pay back any debts.
These practices have since been reined in, but that doesn’t change the fact that credit cards can destroy your financial life. However, I’ve since discovered since entering adulthood that I, personally, have the self-discipline to pay off my balances in full every month, avoiding interest and late fees. I’m able to use cards to leverage reward points so that I can stay at hotels for free, or hop on a plane without spending a cent.
Tropical Vacations are Only For Millionaires
The concept of a tropical vacation seemed so foreign to me in my youth. I figured you must have to be rolling in it to even dream of seeing white beaches licked by turquoise waters. Even if I didn’t have my rewards points, I now realize that there are lots of ways to vacation. The Caribbean isn’t all that far for us east coasters, and the Gulf Coast of the US is even closer. By shopping for the best deals in prime locations, or choosing to visit gorgeous locales that don’t garner all of the spotlight, I’ve been able to see my fair share of gorgeous beaches as an adult, without being a millionaire.
I’ll Never Be Able to Build My Credit Score
When I was starting out, my credit score was at zero. I had a hard time seeing how I could possibly build it, as anyone who I could possibly want to borrow money from wanted to see it in the high 600s. I learned about secured cards and getting a cosigner on loans, and chose the latter. Years later, I regularly check my credit score, and it’s far above the high 600s.
There’s always something to learn when it comes to your finances. These lessons may have taken years of life experiences to sink in, but not all of them do. Take your preconceived notions about finances and challenge them in 2016. You just may learn something that opens the doors of opportunity.