Politics, Money, Religion–things you’re not supposed to talk about at the dinner table, right?
Well, it seems like money is something you’re never really supposed to talk about. It’s taboo to talk about stipends and mortgages and rent payments and credit card debt and salaries…and why is that?
Wouldn’t it make sense that we would should talk about something that is essentially the baseline for how you live?
I’m not saying that you need money to have a good life. And I’m definitely not talking about bling, fast cars, and luxury meals–although, wouldn’t that be nice if those were my problems? I’m talking about managing your money to live the way you want to. I am simply asking about how in the midst of all this talk about education and prevention when it comes to eating healthy, safe sex, politics, and policy–we don’t include financial literacy.
This particular topic is one I have become more and more interested as I’ve started to work my way through all the red tape and paperwork and forms that come with my student loans AND as I’ve seen more articles, blog posts, info-graphics, and conversations center around people drowning in their student loans.
I went to UCLA–a big public university in a bankrupted CA. My last quarter there, I saw a 33% increase in tuition costs. My parents weren’t able to foot the bill, I had some grants, and loans made up the difference. I’m a smart kid but that’s the thing–I was just a kid. Taking out over $25,000 in loans. With no credit history. Isn’t there something wrong with that picture?
My understanding is that when you go the bank and ask for a loan for a new car or a house or anything, really, they do extensive checks on your credit score, your purchase, etc. etc. And here I was, 18 years old, with barely a few hundred dollars to my name, given this enormous sum of money. I knew I would have to pay it back eventually and I didn’t spend it frivolously but I also never really thought about what the payments would be like, how the interest would build on itself, or how having five different servicers/lenders would be such a pain in the ass.
Just like we educate children about not taking candy from strangers, maybe we should start educating them about not taking money all willy-nilly from interest hungry lenders.
So here’s my bright idea, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and mouthing off about my money. Every Monday. (That’s the hope for now.)
If you’re a high school senior, recently accepted into college…Congratulations! And good luck. Check out your school’s financial aid office–and since those are packed–come to terms that you’ll have to figure most of it out on your own. Most schools now have a Net Price Calculator to help you figure out your total cost. But I would advise just taking a good hard look at what your actual expenses are (rent/tuition/books) and taking as few loans as humanly possible. Then get a work-study job. And try to Know Before You Owe.
Maybe my own experience will help make someone else’s journey easier? If nothing else, I know that misery always loves company.
Have a question or suggestion? Want to talk about something specific? Feel free to comment and let me know what you want to see on Money Monday$! If you’d rather not address it publicly, you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to hear from you!