The life lessons that our teachers, parents and mentors instill in us when we’re younger can stay with us even longer than learning to write in cursive or memorizing all the capitals of U.S. states. They help form our behavior and morals. But did you know they can also apply to your personal finances? Check out the elementary principles that could affect your adult financial behavior below:
Honesty is the best policy
We’ve all done it. You set a budget, you start tracking your spending, and you make yourself accountable to sticking to the plan. But then, you buy your daily latte. And order a book online. And buy an app on your phone. Suddenly, that hardline budget plan has fuzzy edges everywhere. Be honest with yourself about where your budget dollars go and track your spending consistently. Everything counts (even the small stuff).
Be on time
Paying your bills on time – or early – is one of the best things you can do to try and keep your credit healthy. Credit scores are calculated on many different criteria, but the largest portion of that determination is based on your payment history. That's why keeping on schedule is so important.
You can do anything if you put your mind to it
Improving your financial behavior might be easier than you think. It’s always important to exercise personal discipline and be consistent with your budget, but doing things like setting up automatic payments on your bills and setting reminders for yourself for other important tasks can put you on the road to healthier credit while reducing mental stress.
Do your homework
Your teachers told you that if you didn’t do your homework, you wouldn’t pass the test. That’s still true as an adult. If you’re considering leasing or buying a new vehicle, do your homework by making sure it fits your lifestyle, including your commute and personal finances. Also, always take a test drive before signing on the dotted line to make sure it’s the right fit for you.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Socrates is often quoted as saying “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” Although you might know a little, there’s always room to grow. If you don’t know the best way to accomplish something financially, seek resources to learn how to manage your money. For example, GM Financial offers education on financial literacy and how to build your credit through KEYSSM by GM Financial. You can also look to mentors in your personal life who have realized success and ask them questions to help illuminate your path.
Learn from your mistakes
We all have our own scary financial stories to tell. It’s how we react to them and improve our habits that make us successful. Very few financial mistakes are impossible to recover from, so don’t let the bumps in the road get you down. Make a plan for recovery and don’t make the same mistake twice.
By Scooter Hendon, GM Financial
GM Financial's Scooter Hendon might have a funny name, but he's serious about educating customers about financing their vehicles – and no, not the foot-powered kind on two wheels.