The smart move is to grow your financial intelligence

When you leave school and start your own way in life, one really good thing to take with you is a little bit of what is called financial intelligence. 

It doesn’t matter what path or direction you take because everything we do seems to end up revolving around money, so the sooner we understand it the better.

Financial intelligence needs a basic understanding of money. We earn it, then convert it into things we want. When we earn money, we need to pay tax, and if we borrow money it needs to be paid back, usually with additional interest added on. You are way ahead of the pack early if you get the concept of spending less than you earn.  

Credit's due where credit's due

  • Financial intelligence will tell you buying on credit is a bad thing. Credit cards can be really useful in some situations as long as you stay on top of them. If you don’t need to use one, try to avoid them. Same with hire purchase, and same with money shops. Especially money shops.
  • Cards are useful for buying online, so look instead at a debit card that can be used to purchase online but does not allow access to any other accounts. 
  • Build a relationship with your bank. Even if it is just someone at the bank that you can email, having a contact can be useful. Banks will welcome the opportunity to build a long-term relationship with you for one simple reason. You are their future. 

These will save you money too

  • Only borrow as much as you need in your student loan, not as much as you can get. Your student loan is just that, a loan than eventually needs repaying, so the lower you can make it the better
  • A part-time job can be a great introduction to financial intelligence. You will get to learn how to budget and apportion your time between study, work and play, and your loan will be a lot lower
  • In a flat, know what your power and internet costs are, and learn how to keep these costs down
  • Learn how to cook or make yourself a meal; a packed lunch can help a packed wallet
  • Bonds in a flat - landlords will use any excuse to not return your bond so don't give them one 

Calculators to help you

Use this excellent budget calculator from Sorted

Work out exactly where your money goes

You're too smart for scammers

While most potential school leavers are really comfortable online, financial intelligence means we should be aware of the danger of scammers and identity theft. Guard your online identity, don’t put too many personal details in your social media profiles, don’t sign stuff you haven’t read or understood, be careful with passwords, and seriously, if it sounds too good to be true, it is

Find out more about managing your money

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