After graduation, many young adults are getting ready to leave home for the first time. Whether they are going off to college, into the military or get hired into a full-time job, there are several basics grads will want to keep in mind as they move on into adult independence.
Read on as a handful of experts share their secrets about life skills such as developing attitudes that will save us time, money and space, opening a savings, or checking account, regularly maintaining a vehicle and purchasing the right insurance. These ‘insider tips’ will help not only help us productively cruise through our daily routines, but they will also help to minimize the potential fear and anxiety that might arise when we face an emergency.
Owner Lori Firsdon, Forte Organizers (www.forteorganizers.com), Centerville, stressed the value of monitoring what we bring into our lives.
“I would encourage young adults to monitor the kinds of things and the stuff they bring into their lives. Everything we bring into our lives comes with a cost. It will cost them time, space, money, or all three. Even a free item will have those costs,” Firsdon said.
She said it’s easy for most of us to get handed things, purchase things on sale, or buy one, get one half off. It’s also common for society to suggest that we should have more, not less.
“I encourage them to pay attention to what they are bringing home. They need to determine if it is worth the cost — time, space or money,” Firsdon said. “If it is worth the cost and you’re going to love, use and enjoy it, then it is worth the cost of bringing it home.”
If it happens to be a free make-up offer or a free magazine subscription, she said, those things have a cost if we’re not using them.
Firsdon also emphasized the value of her two-minute rule, “If you can get something done in under two minutes, try to do it now. When you’re faced with an email, or daily snail mail, if you can put something away verses bringing it in and dropping it in the laundry room, or on a kitchen counter, if you can take care of it in less than two minutes, try to do it now.”
She said all of the two-minute jobs can add up and start to become overwhelming. If they could be taken care of it in the first place, things wouldn’t get out of control.
Thirdly, another mantra she’s started to share with others is to “travel light.” That doesn’t just apply to vacation, but it means to travel, or pack light in our lives.
“Just because you have the space, doesn’t mean you have to fill it. It’s OK to have an extra shelf or drawer that is empty, or a closet that’s not quite full,” Firsdon said. “When you travel light, you have a lot of options in your life.”
Traveling light allows us to act quickly upon a job offer. It’s also helpful for those who need to move out of town for college, or to serve in the military.
Rebecca Siciarz, executive vice president business development, FirstDay Federal Credit Union, Dayton urged young adults to become a member of a credit union, which is open to those that live, work, worship and attend school in a particular part of town.
FirstDay serves those in Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Greene counties. For most, it’s a good idea open a savings account first. A savings account teaches account holders the difference between wants, needs and desires. It also shows us how to save money.
Even at a young age, Siciarz said, people should start to think about saving money, and put money aside for the things they want. Saving and spending money shows ownership and provides savers with a sense of self-worth.
“When a parent gives their son or daughter a DVD, or an iPad, they always seem to want the next big thing. But, if they have to earn their own money to get it, or when they have to save and pay for it, chances are they are going to take better care of it and appreciate it more because they know what they had to do to get it,” Siciarz, said.
When a person that has a savings account goes shopping, they learn to ask, “Is this what I want or what I need?” When they see a pair of shoes they want for $200, it will cause them to think about how much money they have and what it takes to buy those shoes. Then, the buyer may decide to get a $25 or $30 pair of shoes instead, rather than spending every dollar they have on one pair of shoes.
Once a person masters the financial basics of a savings account, he or she can consider other options that the credit union offers like opening a checking account or applying for a first-time credit card.
“You wouldn’t believe how many adults come in and say, ‘How can I have an overdrawn checking account when I still have checks left?’ or when they use a debit card, they ask ‘Why did you allow me to overdraw my account?’ ”
Whatever account options a person chooses, they need to have a solid understanding about money, budgeting and the related responsibilities. This will help them to effectively manage a checking account, or a debit card. Another option for some is FirstDay’s first-time credit card, which offers up to a $500 credit card limit to those that qualify.
Additionally, manager of community development, Shyra Thomas teaches financial literacy in the area’s high schools, which is one example of FirstDay’s outstanding customer service. For more information about the full line of financial products available, visit www.firstdayfinancial.org.
Bob Grove, owner, Springboro Automotive in Springboro, said it’s important to maintain the regular fluids in a car. Those fluids include transmission fluid, engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, engine coolant and all of the rest of the drive-line fluids, if a car has four-wheel drive,
“Fluids are the lifeblood of a car and if you aren’t taking care of those, the things that rely on that clean fluid are going to be affected,” Grove said.
As a preventative measure, he said it used to be a rule of thumb to check the oil every time a car was filled up with gas.
“The hood ought to be raised every couple weeks to a month. Checking oil is not a hard thing to do. If a person has an older car that has a leak, or if it consumes more oil, the owner will want to check it more often.”
“We see cars all the time that don’t have any oil in them, or they have run out fluids because people aren’t checking them. They think just because cars are so reliable today that they can get in them and go,” Grove said.
This stems from the fact that a lot of people today know very little about a car because the information that is passed down from one generation to the next is wrong or outdated.
“Any good independent repair shop has a definite advantage over a chain store, or dealership because the owner is present. They have a vested interest in their customers’ happiness and they don’t have shareholders to please. They’re going to provide you with the truth and the right information,” Grove said
“As far as the rest of the fluids and things to watch out for, those are things we are glad to teach people. The more information a consumer has, the more they are able to trust their mechanic.” he continued.
When caring for a car, the staff at Springboro Automotive said to use common sense. If you treat a car right, it will usually take care of you.
For example, if a light’s coming on that’s not normal, don’t assume nothing is wrong. If it’s the temperature gauge and the car is getting too hot, don’t keep driving.
A properly maintained vehicle can go for 100,000’s of thousands of miles and can be relatively inexpensive, long-term. For more information, and a complete outline of services, visit Springboro Automotive online at http://www.springboroautomotive.com/.
Good driving and insurance
June Smith, agent, American Family Insurance, Dayton said there are two primary types of insurance for young adults – preferred (written at a lower premium due to a good driving history) and standard (written for those that have a history of tickets, accidents, or a poor driving record.)
“Sometimes, I tell my clients that have standard insurance to tape a dollar bill to their steering wheel as a remembrance to slow down. If they did, they would save a lot of money. I’ve actually had people do that. The savings are great, depending on the car a person is driving,” Smith said.
Smith advised young adults to maintain a good driving record for a number of reasons. She said a poor driving record can cause a person to not only be subjected to higher insurance rates, but it can be detrimental their job.
“There are some companies that give you a company car. There are other businesses, where you drive a company vehicle. If they look at your driving record, and you don’t have a good driving record, they will not hire you,” she said.
Also, If your driving record is clear when you start with a company, you can be hired on. But, if you accumulate any tickets or accidents while you’re on the job, you can be terminated.
“How you drive can impact a lot of other things, not just price,” Smith said.
Often, she said, when customers are looking at the costs involved in their insurance policy, they want to keep the cost as low as possible.
Instead of going on price alone, she suggested taking a more in-depth look at the coverage and reviewing the different options, before making a final decision.
“People in general look at the cost of insurance versus what it is actually giving you. Sometimes, they want to write the state minimum, but if they go out, have an accident and exceed their policy limits, they will be responsible and have to pay the monies back.” Smith said.
Education is key, she said, when looking at a policy. “There is medical coverage available. The other thing that I talk about is their comprehensive and collision deductibles. Sometimes, customers want to raise those up to $1,000 to save money on the bottom line, but the real question I ask is can they come up with the amount of the deductible, if/when it comes time to have the car repaired.”
Other factors to consider include liability, uninsured motorists and, depending on the type of vehicle, there’s rental car coverage, 24/7 roadside assistance and GAP Insurance.
When looking at insurance coverage costs, a person should also keep the car in mind. Some cars have higher repair costs, or a higher frequency of accidents. All of these factors go into a car’s rating. If a person is buying a car, they should call their insurance agent first to find out the rates. Otherwise, the cost of the coverage may be more than they can afford.
American Family Insurance offers a full line of insurance products. To find out more, or to obtain a quote, visit http://insurance-agency.amfam.com/OH/june-smith/.