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I don't have much in the way of real experience with personal finances. I have dealt with my family having low finances—we only make about $40,000 a year right now, before taxes, and we have an estimated $150,000 in debt. We're currently having trouble with getting all our bills paid and with buying me the materials I need to live away from home on a college campus, and with getting me to college, at the University of Arizona. We lost about nearly $20,000 in income this year, on a year-to-year basis. We were receiving Survivor's benefits from Social Security, but we lost them since I grew too old to receive them.

I have learned a considerable bit in the realm of personal finances. I have read books and articles on these topics, and I have taken a Personal Financial Literacy course in high school. I've learned from my parents some good financial practices, such as the need to read everything in very great depth. This is a teaching that can come in handy anywhere, but it's especially important in personal finances, where there can be very important information in fine print. I have read about how to handle debt, the dangers of credit cards (and loans in general), building a credit score, and how to budget, all of which are critical for finances at every level, from the individual to the government. Even governments have loans and debt they have to handle, and their ability to repay debt can affect them in the sight of other nations.

On the whole, my experience with finances has been difficult, because my family doesn't have much money to enjoy life and get me to college, though my experience with financial education has been more than sufficient, because I'm already learning good habits that I can use to have a strong financial position. One of my dreams is to have a perfect credit score.

I plan on using what I've learned to ensure I have a strong financial future, which will ensure I have a strong future in general, because without a solid financial future, you literally can't afford a good life; you won't have the funds for it. I will do everything I can to stay out of debt and to viciously attack whatever debt I may have. To build my credit score, I will have to get into debt, but I will make sure it's manageable. If I must go into credit card debt, I will research ways that I can use the debt to build my credit score. I may also get a mortgage, when I have a family, because I've read a mortgage is one of the best ways to build your credit score.

I will save as much money as I can, for both "rainy days" and for retirement. I want to make sure I have enough money to afford unexpected expenses, such as medical emergencies. I also want to make sure I have enough money to live on when I can no longer work. I will have to go into debt at times; I will save to make sure the debt is less than what it otherwise might be, such as paying part of the cost of a house with the money I have saved.

I am planning my financial future even as I write this. I'm planning on opening my first savings account soon. I will save voraciously, to help my future. I want to ensure a good life for myself and whatever family I may have some day. The time to start is now.

-Lane Molsbee


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