Post-college, the battle of me versus my wallet is insane.
The process of becoming a financially responsible adult, well, isn't like anything anyone ever told me it would be like. Everyday there is a new step I discover on how my money is actually working, and even more important, how it needs to work.
Going from college — where I spent all capital on craft beers, Brandon chicken sandwiches from Bovas and other fun goodies — to car payments, cellphone bills, college debt and a massive list of bills has proved way too abrupt. In the words of Kevin Hart, "I wasn't ready."
I don't remember my parents sitting me down and talking to me about how my wallet works, how debt works, how a credit card functions, how bills should be paid, how credit can so easily be destroyed, or how my student loans are going to affect me the rest of my life. I said I wanted to go to college, I applied and they shipped me off.
This isn't a shortcoming of my parents. It may have slipped their minds by the time it actually was my turn to learn the rules of spending money. After raising four semi-dysfunctional kids before me, they wanted me out of the house. (I don't blame them.) It's a lot for a parent to fully teach an adolescent how money works. I think many kids were never taught those lessons, and from that they suffer the grueling hard-knocks of becoming financially independent.
Most of us millennials find out the hard way. We find out what went wrong with our dollar after it already went wrong. Trial by fire, I guess.
When money was (kind of) much simpler, past generations learned a shit-ton via home-ec classes. Many millennials didn't get to experience this privilege, as public schools' funding issues have cut home-ec short — or out altogether.
In fact, one of my only lessons on personal economics came from my high school typing teacher. She led a two-day lesson, against curriculum, on how to balance a checkbook because she thought it was vital.
Even though it was a great lesson, how relevant is that information today? I don't know. I don't use a checkbook.
Something I've learned during these constant financial revelations is to ask questions. Find the most financially responsible (judged by best credit score) person you know and ask what you should be doing. You can avoid a slew of future obstacles by asking about how money works.
When your wallet is empty, bills are stacking up and real-life financial obligation begins, relying on bill collectors to inform you, or your student-loan provider to give solid advice isn't the way to go. Ask a trusted source questions and solicit advice.
Money is a complicated medium of exchange, and you could hurt your wallet by trying to figure it out yourself. It's a tough thing to conquer, millennials, and if you study up on how to spend, you're much better off in the long run. Save yourself the long-term hassle and ask how money works.