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Old April 20th, 2013, 11:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
waL
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Turning 18

Well, yesterday I got in a bit of trouble, but it has really put my life into perspective. Had this encounter had happened just one week later, I would have been 18, and would most likely have gotten arrested rather than let go with a warning. Anyway, I’ve realized that once I turn 18 my parents can basically just kick me out of the house, or, more likely, I’ll end up leaving. Even though I should be away at college come September, I’ll be honest and say it’s very likely I won’t be living at home until then, and my take-everything-for-granted lifestyle living in a million dollar house, tapping away at my iphone all day just won’t be possible.

/now I’ll stop being overdramatic.

I’ll probably fix things with my parents, end up going to college, and living the life I had imagined about a few days before all this... but there are a few things I’d like to do when I turn 18, and I’m sure you guys can help.

Blissful ignorance basically sums up the life I’ve been living, and my knowledge concerning many important facets of my life is next to non-existant. Besides my social-security number, I only know my name, and I wouldn’t know where to find my birth certificate or passport if I needed them tomorrow.

So let’s talk... as I’m sure you guys will understand these things much better than myself, about some things I should do to start myself off right, as an adult, and to prepare for the future. Besides just having a foundation for success in the future regarding money/credit/etc, I could very well get kicked out of the house the day I turn 18, and I’d much rather continue on towards with my aspirations of becoming an attorney than have to pick up a minimum wage job just to feed myself, and I eat a lot.

Bank accounts. I’m pretty sure my parents have one or two joint bank accounts with me, but I don’t even know. Should I take all the money out and throw it in my own? or start a new one without them knowing for all my -new- money? Couldn’t they just take it all out of my account tomorrow? Is there any way I can find out about ALL the accounts I have access to? or would I have to..... call every bank?WHA.

Documents. Should I ask them for the original or copy of my birth certificate? Should I take my passport? Anything else...?

Credit cards/credit score. I have a credit card now that has the same number as one of my mothers’ cards. I believe it comes as separate statements, but she pays both bills either way... should I apply for my own credit card now that I’m 18 to start building a solid credit? what other ways can I build my credit?

........... I can’t think of anything else right now, but what about you?! I’m sure there’s something I missed. Thanks for any help, and tell it to me straight!
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Old April 21st, 2013, 12:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm more than double you're age...

DAMN I'm old.

edit - Didn't feel like responding to the whole thing. But as someone who SERIOUSLY F'd up my credit when I was younger, I can tell you very well how to build credit (I now have excellent credit). Get yourself a credit card. Doesn't matter the limit. Use it every month. Pay off MOST of the balance. Leave $5-10 on it to carry over, DO NOT PAY IT OFF. Next month do the same thing. You're credit will go SKYROCKETING up.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 03:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tlmiller View Post
I'm more than double you're age...

DAMN I'm old.

edit - Didn't feel like responding to the whole thing. But as someone who SERIOUSLY F'd up my credit when I was younger, I can tell you very well how to build credit (I now have excellent credit). Get yourself a credit card. Doesn't matter the limit. Use it every month. Pay off MOST of the balance. Leave $5-10 on it to carry over, DO NOT PAY IT OFF. Next month do the same thing. You're credit will go SKYROCKETING up.
what does not paying it off do?

as back to wal.

i don't know what american rules are, but i opened my own bank account (no co-signee) when i was 17 or 18. i've been 98% independent ever since. I track my own finances and what not. my first credit card was a co-sign with my dad when i was 16. my first solo card was a student card (read... GREAT START) when i started university. used that until another one was almost literally dropped in my lap. never checked my credit score, but i recently opened a line of credit with a pretty low interest rate (financial adviser was surprised... said my credit must be pretty damn good)

if you open your own account, take enough to get it started, but don't take it all lest you pull a stupid (not saying you will, but a lot of people do). and yes, you would need to do some research. find a no fee student account or a no-fee chequing account to get started. bank fees rack up a pretty penny

documents - you should KNOW where the originals are at all times. in canada, i don't carry any documents on me other than my drivers license. passport if i'm travelling across borders (although NEXUS eliminates the need for that for me)
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Old April 21st, 2013, 07:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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not paying it off makes companies think you're more responsible or something. Building credit is the most backwards thing I've ever heard of.

I didn't own a credit card until 2 years ago or so, and apparently having no credit is worse than having bad credit. (you know, because I've been responsible and have never needed to put anything on credit because I only buy what I can afford) So to build credit, you have to pay off the bank by paying interest on your card, to make them like you more. It's absolutely retarded.

take out a joint loan or something if you don't want a card, that will build credit as well.(which is another thing I never had to do) It took me a very long time to finally talk capitol one into getting me a card with no annual fee, but I was able to do it. That's how I'm building credit. my own bank wouldn't give me a credit card, even though I've been a member in good standing for almost 10 years.



If you're worried about your parents taking your money, absolutely drain those accounts and start a new one. Banks are more than happy to help you open a new account. You have have to be careful about closing them, though. Make sure your accounts don't have a minimum balance requirement, because you may get charged fees if you're unable to close the joint account by yourself.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 09:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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First and fore-most....

Living on your own, and doing things on your own is EXPENSIVE. Rent for a 1 bedroom on the outskirts of Chicago is around $800/mo in a bad neighborhood. This doesn't include gas/electric/waste disposal/cable/phone/association/etc.

If you can, patch things with your parents - and set aside 1/2-1.5 hours per day just for random BS house work. Your objective is to be seen as an asset within the house. You don't have to be the "primary asset", but taking on cooking responsibilities 1x per week, handle laundry 1-2 days, handling garbage on trash day, and cleaning your living area... don't take much time - will result in you being a better rounded, more responsible individual, and will soothe the rift between you and the P's.

Now - I know it sounds dumb, but block-diagram out your time. Get yourself regimented and on a baseline schedule. This will show you just how much F-Around time you're taking for granted, and how much time you waste doing dumb stuff. White boards don't cost much - and if you're pressed for cash, Glass is the best white-board ...period (per my engineering dept. buddies). If you have to, use the bathroom mirror. Or - use your iPhone. Make a check list. Use the to-do list, and try to complete all things on it.

TL;DR - Organize yourself and the use of your time.

Documents - Get them all in your possession and in a bank vault. You won't need ready-access to your SocSec card, Birth Certificate, or passport (if you have one). Getting those in a safe, secure location will prevent them from being lost, or falling in the wrong hands. Your bank should be able to help you out.

Bank Accounts - In the event you're indisposed or Incapacitated....you need a 2nd name on the account. Can you trust your parents? Personally - I have my mom as a secondary on one of my accounts. It has enough in it to get me out of a scrape, but is far from my total liquid asset sum.

Credit Cards - STOP USING DEBIT. Your debit card has you personally liable for the first $50 of fraudulent transactions. Depending on how they classify them - you can end up responsible for most of the charges. If you're disciplined enough - use your credit to track your finances. Otherwise, you are best off using cash. Since you're 18 and a student, banks will be THROWING credit card apps at you. Get a job and one with a pathetic credit limit, and build up from there. I want to say my first card was good for 500 bucks? After a few instances of rackin' it up and dropping it to $20... (and job and income level changes), the card isn't only good for $500...heh. Capital One is an Okay company to go through. They're strict, but fair about their policies. I've heard Chase is a bit more lenient. Visa and Mastercard look to be nearly universal. American Express is a harder sell, and Discover isn't accepted everywhere either, so plan accordingly. Just be sure you don't F up with these, and always try to double the minimum if you get in trouble. Otherwise - it takes decades to pay them off.

Cell Phone - Often overlooked as a credit source/line.

Yeah - I have to run to a meeting - but for now...this is a starting point. I"ll come back and finish my thoughts later.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 11:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah - after dwelling on it over the course of the meeting...


What it comes down to is - you need to learn to act and function like an adult. No one person here can tell you what that means...as we're not you - but you'll have a significant amount of growing up to do and personal prioritization.


The best, sincere, advice I can give to you is to look 3 years forward and act accordingly to achieve those goals. Take college seriously - and attempt to learn something from major relevant courses, and when approaching a class - don't look at it within terms of a letter grade. Your employers won't care if you got a B in Managerial Accounting... they'll care if you understand, grasp, and have mastered the concepts relevant to the position you hold.


Don't let love, women, or impulsive decisions get in the way of you and your pursuit of your own personal end-game. Don't let your body slip into a fat pile of round, and make time for you to be you. You will have to compromise on some of these things - but don't allow that to remove you from yourself.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 01:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Just remember...

Don't panic, and remember to bring your towel.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 02:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Just remember...

Don't panic, and remember to bring your towel.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 03:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My only advice would be to patch things up with your parents and listen to them. If I could go back and change anything about my younger and more stupid self it would be to make myself a lot more humble and to realize that I didn't know even half of what I thought I knew and you asking strangers for life advice because we've been through it is proving my point exactly. Your parents are older and have been through everything too and they have a much better idea of your life and how you are than we ever will. All teenagers think they have the world by the balls and every little setback is a tragedy and every little achievement a triumph and I was no better. Listen to your parents and treasure them nothing makes life easier than family you can lean on when you need them.

As for the other stuff...you should have your own bank account by now I've had the same account since I was 11 making money delivering papers. If you don't have one of your own open one and if you don't already have a job GET ONE not just for the chance to have money of your own but ****ty jobs lead to better jobs and even if you graduate college at the top of your class you will have a hard time getting hired if you've never had real work before. If you don't know if you have bank accounts I'm going to come right out and say that even if you do the money couldn't possibly be yours. It could be money someone set aside for you but if you don't even know where it is you don't deserve it and at best it was held for you but is not necessarily yours. Not that you could get it anyway no bank is going to confirm an account you can't identify except with your name. Otherwise my name would be Bill Gates AND Donald Trump and I'd call every bank I could find. If and when you leave home you should have or have access to your original documents. If you have a passport take it and keep it up to date it is a great form of ID and if you need one on short notice they are very hard to get. Get yourself a credit card when you can but keep the limit low and be smart because debt racked up when you are 18 can and will stay with you for life but credit history also stays with you for life so start early.
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Old April 22nd, 2013, 11:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the advice! I’ve patched things up with my parents, they admitted to overreacting and gave me everything back... TRIUMPH!!! (luls)

Credit seems like a backwards business to me, but I guess I’ll do what I gotta do to get a good score. I currently share a credit card with my mom though, and since she pays it off.. I’m guessing it’s not helping my credit much.
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 08:51 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Credit seems backwards but it isn't I used to do approvals at my last job and it isn't that complicated really.

Imagine you have three friends that want to borrow $500 from you:

Friend 1: He's borrowed from you before and always pays you back on time
Friend 2: He's borrowed from you before and pays you back eventually but he is always late and always has an excuse
Friend 3: You only kind of know him from work and you think he might have a couple of cats or something but he's never asked for money before.

Lenders today aren't like the small local banks from back in the day they are global and don't know you personally so how can they tell which of these three guys you are? They use credit reports to get a rough idea of good of a customer you will be. To a lender friend 1 and 2 are both candidates because they both pay the money back but #2 is a bit higher risk so they charge a bit more but friend #3 is a total unknown and that is a huge problem because banks especially hate risk. To build your credit you have to establish a track record of how you pay back money and by keeping a small balance on a credit card you will establish a record of regular payments which gets logged as regular payments if you pay the money off every month it will just show that you have available credit which isn't much of an indicator.
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 08:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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why then, do they say not to pay off your entire card at once? If I'm not able to pay off what I owe, when I owe it, wouldn't that hurt my credit?
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 08:58 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Not paying off your credit card in it's entirety is how they make money. Making them money builds your credit rating with them faster.
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 12:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Good credit all has to do with making regular payments. If you are the type of person that has a card and doesn't really use it but when you do you pay it off you aren't setting up a track record of payments but if you get a regular bill that you pay on that is logged as you having a balance and making regular payments on it. It doesn't really matter how you do it you just need a recurring bill of one kind or another either a phone or cable or gas or whatever but the great thing about credit cards is that they always show up on your credit but a phone bill doesn't. A personal loan from your bank for a car is also another good one because it will a secured loan (car as collateral) and they always show up too. Don't get the wrong idea having zero debt is great once you have good credit but if you are looking to build a credit history unfortunately you do need to get dirty.
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