Every day we’re getting older, some days you feel it more than others. I could get really philosophical here and discuss the mental changes you must accept to transition in to adulthood. But I’d rather keep this topic at the surface level and state some things I wish I knew when I turned 18.

You Have No Credit

I’m not talking street credit or college credit or credibility as a personality trait, I’m talking FICO Credit Score credit here. If you just turned 18, chances are you have never had a loan or a credit card and hopefully you don’t have any debt that has been sent to a collection agency. So therefore you have no credit, it’s not as scary as it sounds and it is pretty easy to develop a credit score but it will take some patience.

You Will Need Credit

You won’t need it right away, but eventually you will need a solid credit score to help with getting loans for vehicles or a mortgage at really reasonable rates. A lot of rental agencies at large apartment complexes run credit checks on potential tenants nowadays. If one of your goals in life is to own a house at some point you need to deliberate long and hard on your financial decisions that affect your credit score.

Credit Cards Are Not the Devil

Credit cards get such a bad reputation especially for younger folks, but as long as you are cautious they are not as dangerous as they are made out to be. I was turning 19, engaged, and talking about buying a house but I had no credit; the only thing I could think to do was to sign up for a credit card. Discover accepted me and has some really great perks like Cash Back Bonus Programs and automatically increasing your line of credit for diligent customers. I have used my credit card as a tool to generate and maintain a good credit score for three years now and have no regrets. My advice is to use the credit card to pay for preexisting bills i.e. cell phone, utilities, cable and pay it off every month. Easy peasy.

My Final Tip for Growing Up

Don’t.

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