How to Not Go Broke with Finance Expert Sonari Glinton
Adult ISH is a first-of-its-kind culture and advice podcast produced entirely by folks who are almost adults. Check out all Adult ISH episodes and segments here.
What you gonna do when the rent is due? Rely on your credit score or be a baller?
YR Media’s Nyge Turner gets his young childhood dream of owning a red Jeep Wrangler crushed as he and Merk Nguyen get financial advice from an expert. NPR’s former business reporter, Sonari Glinton, is in to talk about credit: what it is, how to build it up, and why he thinks 22-year-olds (like Nyge) should bank on financial security instead of pics with Jeep Wranglers and Drake captions that make you look baller.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Check out the full conversation on YR Media’s Adult ISH podcast (episode 7 – Self ISH).
Nyge: Merk, I wanna tell you about a childhood dream. I was 10 years old in Hawaii on vacation and I hopped into this red Jeep Wrangler. And I’m sittin’ in it. Big wheels. It’s lifted up off the ground and I fell in love. And I always told myself, “When you make it Nyge, you are getting a red Jeep Wrangler.”
Merk: Well, we got the same paycheck and I’m definitely not getting enough [for] that. I mean, do you have good credit? What’s your credit score?
Nyge: I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever looked before.
Merk: How do you not know your credit score? Whatever. Live your dreams, but do it responsibly. And if I can’t convince you to do that, I’ve got someone who will: Sonari Glinton! He’s covered stories from the 2012 presidential race to pancakes being ‘on fleek’. So Sonari, what do you have to say to our generation?
Sonari: It’s this [interview] I realize that allows me the moment to be the old black man who says stuff at the barber shop and is like, “Listen to me, fool!” Nyge, I gotta tell you. That story was beautiful, but I’ve been a car reporter for six years. In that [time], I’ve only given a review of two cars. One is a Jeep Wrangler and it is the worst car…ever.
Nyge: Why? Can you imagine the amount of Drake captions I can put on my pictures when I post that on Twitter, like, I’m standing on the hood?
Sonari: Oh, you think it’s an SUV? Ain’t no storage in it.
Merk: We’re talking too much about cars. What we care about today is credit. We want to be able to get a car in the first place! Sonari, you’re our expert. What exactly is credit?
Sonari: Credit is your reputation. Back in the day, people would keep track and merchants would say, “Hey! Sonari don’t pay his bills.” We all have various kinds of credit, but the official kind comes with your credit score. Many of you know most of us have a credit score called your FICO credit score. It judges how creditworthy you are, meaning how likely you are to pay money back. The better your credit is, the less interest you have to pay on loans and things like that. 700 or so is a good credit score.
Merk: Someone once gave me advice to use your credit card as if you’re using a debit card because if you already know you have the money in your debit account, then you pay [that back to your] credit card right away. [They said] that’s a good way to build credit. True or false?
Sonari: If you can pay it off every month then that’s the same. Does that make sense? So, one of my automatic payments on my credit card is “pay full balance”. That will help create credit. I’m going to tell you — you’re 22 years old. You don’t need no car and you definitely don’t need no Jeep Wrangler.
Nyge: I do though! I’m supposed to pull up to my girl’s house on foot?
Sonari: You know what’s sexy to a woman? A man who can pay his own bills. A man who has stability. What are you going to do when the rent is due?
Nyge: I just got to look smooth. I didn’t say it was my wife. I said it was my girl. She don’t know what my rent look like.
Sonari: I just want to tell you this: Ralph Gilles is a black man who is the designer for Chrysler and he’s cute too. He’s a cute brother. He’s climbed over all these folks to be the head of design and design[ed] the Jeep Wrangler. I can’t even get down with it and it’s a brother who designed it! You know how few brothers there are out there?
Nyge: You just gave me another reason to get a Jeep Wrangler.
Sonari: Buy yourself a bicycle, man. Get yourself a nice video game.
Nyge: I’m gonna look even more broke! If I pull up on a bike, everybody’s like, “Oh, Nyge fell off. What is that boy doing now?”
Sonari: Young blood, here is what it’s about. It’s about your security. You can look baller or you can be a baller, but most of us cannot choose both.
Nyge: Well, Sonari, you’ve successfully crushed a young boy’s Hawaiian vacation dream.
Merk: We really do wanna thank you for giving your two-cents.
Sonari: Thank you. Don’t be ashamed. That’s all I’m gonna say.