If you could go back and give your teenage self some sage money advice, what would it be?
With Year 12 exams over and our region's school leavers contemplating their next move, we asked 'Mr Taxman' Adrian Raftery for his top money tips for school leavers to set them up for a prosperous future.
Tip number 1 - Don't get a credit card
"It's the root of all evil. The average credit card debt is five thousand dollars. I've seen young people of 21, 22 (years old) with a hundred thousand dollars of credit card debt," Adrian told ABC Goulburn Murray's Joseph Thomsen.
Tip 2 - If you must buy a car, make it a cheap one
Cars decrease in value so they're not a good investment. "If you do need a car for work, buy the cheapest car possible that will get you from A to B." Instead he recommends you "save your money for investments that will make you money" - like shares, property or a term deposit.
Tip 3 - Ask family and friends for advice
Parents and grandparents love sharing their wisdom - so make the most of it. "Ask them, 'What would you do differently?' ".
Tip 4 - Get smart with super
"Money makes money," Adrian said. Start contributing extra payments into your superannuation now and it'll make things easier it will be later in life. Plus you can benefit from government contributions for low income earners. "Put an extra thousand dollars into super each year, the government will put in five hundred dollars." You can find out if you're eligible for co-contributions here.
Tip 5 - Budget for your goals
What do you want to do with your money? Set goals, budget for them and most importantly be disciplined.
Tip 6 - Pay on time
Late fees add up. Set up direct debits for regular payments like phone bills, insurance, car registration and utilities expenses so you always pay your bills on time.
Tip 7 - Borrow for good
Try to only borrow money for 'good debts' - things that will make you money by increasing in value, like property.
What money advice do you think every teenager should hear? Leave a comment below.
This article was first published on the ABC website.