5 Ways College Grads Teach Themselves Healthy Credit for the Real World

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There you are. You’re sitting at convocation with that silly hat and tassle.

You’re about to receive your ticket to big money, right?

That piece of paper is what you’ve been working for, right?…

Probably, not really. It’s the life ahead of you that everyone who loves breaking a sweat doing the things they love can’t wait to be a part of. And really, that’s what all those graduation speeches are really about:

But there’s one thing that… your student body president, everyone’s favourite funny faculty member, and your University Dean won’t tell you about in their expedient advisory behind that podium:

A good credit score can make your life super awesome when that paper you just got doesn’t matter that much anymore. 

After all, can you really anticipate how many hours you have to work to make those travel arrangements, buy a home for your family or, buy that new car?

A healthy credit score will help you afford the experiences that make life more enjoyable, more comfortable and more interesting.

1.Understand What Money Is

Just like credit, money is earned. It’s a medium for exchange. Instead of trading your tacos for tulips, you trade dollars for deals. Once you have it, you can do with it what you will. But pay attention or it could be gone as quick as that speeding BMW that passed you while you were sitting on the bus.

Money also takes the form of currency. It’s what your community has agreed on as an easy way to make trades for things we want. So that means you need to…

2.Learn the Value of a Dollar

Most people, (and probably even your parents) would have given you the advice to learn to work, get a job etc. Well, here’s something you probably haven’t heard: work for free. Or, on 100% commission while you’re still living with your parents or going to school.

Here’s what will happen:

you’ll earn an appreciation for work and the value of money

you’ll begin to see a bigger picture beyond your university classes

you’ll remember to pay your smartphone bill, go out with your friends and pay for your tuition

This affects your credit score because, in the simplest terms I can think of, a credit score is a rating of how good you are at being good for your word and paying for things you intend to buy later. So…

3.Practice Meeting Deadlines

You might remember complaining about things like homework (deadlines) when you were a teenager and, even into your college years. Remember those Friday nights when you asked your Dad for a twenty note before leaving for movies with your friends? That twenty-dollar-bill felt like freedom. And it was. Prepare yourself to meet deadlines by:

  • doing your homework on time without complaining (doing your best at it)
  • get a smartphone, pay the bill on time, every time (paying your phone on time directly boosts your credit score)
  • Work through summer to pay for your tuition
  • ***when you finish any goal, record it as a win

4.Understand revolving loans and one-time loans

Take time to figure out the difference between a credit card and a car loan. A credit card is an open, revolving loan. You have consistent and constant availability to make purchases for items without having to work for them. Paying for things like your smartphone bill or your tuition on your credit card will help you build a positive credit so you can be ready for real world, adult purchases.

5.Use a credit card with benefits right for you 

Credit cards will help help build your credit score, even help you pay your tuition easier but, make sure you get the benefits that are right for you. There’s more than a few credit cards out there labelled “Student” cards. Try to avoid them if you can. Try to apply for cards that provide benefits like these:

  • get lower insurance premiums.
  • cash or travel rewards
  • purchase protection, price protection, extended warranty, rental car insurance and more
  • 0% interest on purchases or balance transfers for 12 to 18 months
  • get discounts on groceries

Looking for more informative, educational content on money and finance? Stay tuned.

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