By Destiny Copeland September 25, 2022
My mom is a very frugal woman. She grew up in poverty and made it her goal to create a better life for me. As a budget analyst for the government, her network, education, and vision of the life she had for me led to her gains in financial knowledge. My mom added me as an authorized user on one of her credit cards when I was about 14 years old, this bound our credit history together. On this credit card, she would pay the balance off every month, creating the longevity of my financial history and foundation for a high credit score.
My mom had me set for life, right? No, of course not, because this article wouldn’t be interesting.
Eight years later I was in college, I was depressed, I racked up hundreds of dollars worth of parking tickets, and maxed out both of my credit cards. I was also failing some classes, anxious, and driving Lyft to make ends meet. It was a very stressful time for me.
Since I was too embarrassed to tell my mom all the details of my bad financial situation and the lack of money I had to fix it, I called on my aunt who is a full-time accountant and part-time financial advisor. She helped me create my first budget and a plan to pay off my debts to avoid them from going to collections and damaging my credit score.
Except I was a little too late. In a few months, I damaged the 730 credit score my mom spent almost a decade giving to me.
My mom handed me a very crucial financial tool but with no instruction manual. I had no idea how it worked or how to preserve it. I don’t fault my mom for this at all, but because hindsight is 20/20 and I like to learn from mistakes, I will say that passing on any type of financial wealth or access without the knowledge to maintain it is damaging. It damaged my credit score by 120 points.
However, I can’t say that having the knowledge would’ve been enough for me. By making these mistakes I learned to absorb every ounce of financial knowledge once I received it. I learned that if a bill goes to collections, you can negotiate the full amount you have to pay since the company you owe already wrote it off as a loss and they’ll take whatever money they can get from you, within reason. I’ve grown to love my budget and tell my friends how it doesn’t have to be restricting, and that you build your dream life through it.
In these situations, people tend to say, “Though it was hard, I wouldn’t change a thing”, I absolutely disagree here because I want my 730 credit score back. What I will say is I’m grateful that I failed forward in my journey thanks to the help of my mom, my aunt, and my drive. My failure changed me. Maybe in the next decade when, I have my high credit score, diverse investment portfolio, and working on buying my second home I’ll look back and say it was all worth it.