Friday, February 1, 2013

Advice I Would Have Ignored That I Wish I'd Been Given Anyway

I am blessed, at times overly blessed, with a large family.   I am the oldest of five children, the youngest of whom is 18 years younger than me at 14 years old.  3 years older than my son, Child Minion.   3o3S (Third of  Three Sisters) is starting to look at what she wants to do after high school in just over two years.     

For anyone reading who is looking at 3o3S's age (14) and thinking that's awfully young to be a sophomore in High School- you're right.   Two years ago she was jumped from the middle of 7th grade to the middle of 8th grade.   Her birthday is in the spring, so she entered high school as a 13 year old.   She'll graduate 2.5 months into her 17th year.  

1o3S, H. Troll and I have had qualms about her early promotion to high school since the first.  Not so much about her academics, she is very bright, but because she is also very young.  As none of us are her guardians, this decision was left to our parents.   


Everyone goes through growing pains in their late teens/early 20s when they go out on their own.  Lord knows I did.  Looking back at that time, 15 years ago (ugh...I feel old)  I was supremely unprepared for being out on my own and responsible.   While I still feel that way, I've at least learned what NOT to do.  

On occasion.  

So, my sister and son's graduation presents will be a collection of advice from family and friends, that while I'm sure they won't listen too it,  it's advice I wish I'd been given when I left home.

~  Don't be afraid to ask "What does this mean?" when dealing with financial stuff.    Every time.   Be a pest until you're sure you know what you're signing and why.   Your signature is a commitment to pay back what you're borrowing.  Whether it's a credit card, car loan, mortgage, student loan or cell phone contract.    It's their job to explain to you and if they won't- walk away even if it means leaving money on the table.

I've worked in collections and know how many people are confused or not educated on what exactly they're signing for.  Your signature on a promissory note or contract is a legally binding agreement that you are obligated to fulfill.   ASK.

~ Don't replace something when you can fix it easily.   Your parents give you a car you know they bought for $200.00.  It starts to have mechanical issues that you could fix- you know a good mechanic, you like to tinker on cars, whatever- you could get if fixed without too much bother.   Instead, you trade it in for a "better" car and a car loan.   You'll pay more for that car over the life of the loan than you will that beater, even if you stay current on the payments and are never late just because of interest.

Maintain what you have.   It'll save you money.  

~ Perhaps the most important.  Don't get tangled up in The Crazy.  There's a difference between quirky/eccentric and Crazy.   If someone is hurting you verbally, mentally or physically- or themselves- get far. far. away from them.  Cut off all contact.  Don't listen to them when they come sobbing back asking for your forgiveness and saying that they didn't mean it, it was a joke, they love you and would never hurt you.  

It's never OK and never right.   If it means living on a friend's couch for a year until you can afford your own apartment, it'll be worth getting away from a potentially bad, very bad, situation with lasting consequences.  

A good relationship makes you happy and content with who you are and who you're with.  Don't settle for The Crazy.  You deserve more.   


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