Photo: Flickr / drp
To say that my financial life has changed over the past few years is definitely an understatement. Everything in my financial life from my income and my value of money to my personal spending and savings habits have changed over the last three years.I used to use my credit cards to pay for all of my purchases and I was only making the minimum monthly payments. Due to my over spending and my bad money habits I found myself thousands of dollars in debt in my early twenties.
If that wasn’t bad enough I kept spending money and accumulating debt because I knew that I could afford to make the minimum monthly payments on my credit cards. I used to go to work at the bank and tell my clients all about the dangers of misusing their credit cards; then I would come home and use a cash advance on my credit card to pay for my rent.
My income was able to sustain the minimum monthly payments but it was not enough to help pay down my actual credit card balances. Actually that is not 100% true, my income would have been enough to pay down my credit card balances if I managed my money better and spent a little less.
I finally decided that enough was enough and I started looking for ways to supplement my income. I figured that if I had more income I could afford to pay off my credit card balances. This is true, but what really needed to change were my spending habits.
The danger of being financially irresponsible at a young age is that we can get in to a lot of debt very quickly, but it can take a very long time to pay off. The advantage (if you can call it that) of being financial irresponsible at a young age is that we have time to overcome and learn from our mistakes.
I am not proud of my financial past, but I am not ashamed of it either. I have lived to learn from my mistakes and I am thankful that I made those mistakes at a young age. If I had to think about myself making those same financial mistakes now at 31 years old I definitely panic because now the damage could be so overwhelming that I may not be able to fully overcome and recover from its effects.
I would definitely not want to be thousands of dollars in debt and trying to pay it off while I was supporting a family with children. Learning from my past financial mistakes has made me a financially responsible and mature young adult. It has also inspired me to try and help other young people with their own personal money management and financial struggles.
I know what education I was lacking when I was younger and I know what information I wish that I had. I am going to try to help other young people not make the same money mistakes that I did when I was younger.