18 Money Lessons I wish I knew before I turned 18

Money moves are essential for every growing 18 year old, and the earlier you grasp financial lessons the better. Growing up doesn't have to mean constant stress and worry. It can look like gently preparing yourself, for all that is to come, in the form of financial security and awareness.

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Money moves for 18 year olds

Theres a sense of security that comes with having your own money. I experienced this feeling at a young age and even if my savings only had $86 dollars, I knew it was mine.

I felt completely prepared for the glitz and glam of adulting until I turned 18, and learned the hard way that the way books and movies told the story of life wasn't true.

Keep reading to find out 18 money lessons I wish I knew at 18 that would have made my transition into the real world easier.

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Related Post: How to set SMART financial Goals

1. It's never to early to think longterm

Money is something that you need to thrive in the world. And while money does not buy happiness, it makes life more comfortable. You're now presented with the beautiful opportunity to create the business you want and help people who are in need.

Thinking ahead helps to develop a sense of financial responsibility. You know you "need" the money to pay for your Netflix subscription so it's best to save some of your earnings.

Care about your credit

Consider making your first credit card a secured credit card. It shows on your credit report but your credit limit is usually the amount that you deposit. It's a lot harder to go into critical debt when you only have a credit limit of $200.

Consider different career paths

I've felt the panic of deciding between practical jobs and other things that I enjoyed doing, like writing or lending a helping hand.

It was as if I had to choose between living comfortably and figuring out where my next check would come from. Have a plan D, so that you are a tinsy bit more prepared no matter how the wind blows.

Chances are by 18 you will not have your entire life mapped out and that is perfectly okay.

2. Not all of your financial goals have to be public

You don't have to tell anyone what you're saving for. When you're younger, with goals and aspirations that are untouched by the chaos of the world, those in your inner circle may try to discourage you.

But knowing that you have a goal in mind, that you are passively (or actively), saving for helps you to keep doing it.

Money moves every 18 year old should make

3. Your goals will change

As your desired lifestyle shifts and grows along with your ambitions in life, let it. Begin to make connections between why you aren't saving money and how you can shift your habits.

You might think that saving for a car for when you're 16 is the best option, and realize that if you want to go to college, you'll have to cover the tuition bill. For many newly graduated high schoolers of 2020 this is the case.

If you are more free spirited you could decide to use that money to travel and explore after high school is finished.

4. College will cost money

The application fee is not free unless you are granted a fee waiver. Tuition itself will can cost anywhere from $210 per credit all the way up to a debt filled $81,000 per school year for some of the most expensive colleges in America.

Had I not qualified for FAFSA and TAP, a form of financial aid granted to students, I would have taken out a student loan before I knew the first thing about borrowing money.

Educating myself on student loans was not on my to-do list during senior year.

5. Avoid big loans

If you've read any of my previous post you may remember that for awhile NYU was my dream college. And the only thing I knew as I prepared to apply was that my tour visit was nice.

By now, although only a junior [in a different college], at NYU I would be over $100k in debt and preparing to take out another loan for the Fall 2021 semester.

With jobs not being guaranteed in various fields, it is an even riskier move to take out a massive loan with no clear way for paying it back. You can check out Nav.It for an in-depth overview of personal and federal loans + a few FAQ about the loan process.

Update: My senior year begins August 2021, class of 2022!

6. Graduate school is more expensive