Money is friggin scary. At least, that’s what my friends keep trying to tell me. They shove their fingers in their ears and yell “LA LA LA LA LA LA” whenever the topic comes up. Strangely enough, they tend to carry a bunch of this “scary money” right in their pockets!
So come on, my fellow college kids, and welcome to Part II: Calm Down, We Can Fix This.
As soon as I start throwing around words like “student loans” or “high yield savings accounts” or god-forbid, “CREDIT CARD,” my peers start to go bananas. It’s alright to have reservations, especially if you’re keen enough to notice that our country is in an unreasonable amount of debt. But seriously, take a chill pill. Knowledge is truly power, and power is money in this case – so instead of sticking your head in the sand, how about we focus on getting you an education?
“I have no reason/time/interest to learn about finances right now.” Argh. What? Stop. You use money every day. You carry it in your pocket. You’re wracking up thousands of dollars in student loans… and you think finances aren’t worth your time? Please, put the Guitar Hero controller down or log off of WoW for 15 minutes a week. And why should you care about this? Because no one else is going to take control of your money. My advice is not complicated. I’ve run up against a wall with someone who took an entire month to stop by the campus library (a building he passes every day) to pick up a book. Another friend told me he couldn’t even think about high yield savings accounts until after finals.
Look, I didn’t ask you to build an ark. I know you have projects and quizzes and finals and classes to worry on. But you can’t possibly be spending all of your time on that, because you keep sending me pictures of cats with funny captions. What I need you to really understand is that time is truly on your side here. And there’s not a whole lot of damage that you can do that can’t be undone. Sure, you could run out and throw all the money you have into stocks you know nothing about and lose all your money. But that’s not what I’m asking you do to.
I’m asking you to take a little bit of time and realize that money is, has always been, and will always be a part of your life. Even if you run off and become a hermit in the woods, that means that you’ve chosen a life based on the lack of money (also, I find this highly unlikely, due to your internet addiction). Once you’ve made this realization, I want you to take charge of your financial situation. I don’t want anyone I know to get their credit card bills and leave them unopened in fear. I don’t want anyone I know to shrug and say “I don’t know how much I owe on my student loans.” And I certainly don’t want anyone I know to live in constant fear and doubt because they’re living paycheck to paycheck, no matter how high their salary may climb.
So calm down! Whatever’s worrying you can be fixed. Got credit card debt already? So do I. We can fix it. Student loans higher than you expected? It happens. There are things we can do. Afraid of credit? Shut up. You’re not afraid of credit. You’re afraid of debt. Good – be afraid of debt! But don’t be afraid of credit. Learn the difference.