Actor Ashley Greene says now is the perfect time to think about our financial futures, start building credit, and get smart about saving.
Ashley Greene, an actor best known for the Twilight series, has been proactive about her finances for years, and she says it’s thanks to her father. “My father has always drilled it into my brother and my head that building credit is the best thing you can do for yourself,” Greene said. “We grew up with not a lot of money. Even though we didn’t have much, he had stellar credit.”
Greene got serious about her own finances when she first moved to Los Angeles at 17. “I got a credit card because I wanted an Apple computer and then I didn’t pay my credit card,” she said. “My dad nearly lost his mind.”
Having credit looming over her at a young age taught Greene to think more fiscally. “Until I owed money that I could not pay, I didn’t really grasp the severity of how it holds its control over you,” she said. “After that, I looked at a credit card as something where I control my credit card versus it controlling me.”
Many young people think of a credit card as a fast way to more money, but Greene warns people to avoid that attitude. “We have to have credit cards unfortunately. You have to have them to gain credit, but don’t spend more than you have,” she said. “Use the credit card, build your credit, pay the credit card off, because otherwise, you’re just going to get yourself into this rabbit hole.”
Greene, who shares her household finances with her husband Paul Khoury, takes a proactive approach to managing the couples’ spending. “As brutal as it is, I go over all of our credit card statements, even if it’s a monthly autopay statement,” she said. “I think people don’t want to look at it. It’s that mentality of, ‘If I don’t look at it it’s not there,’ when really what you should be doing is getting ahead of it.”
Now as the United States economy struggles due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is especially important to start thinking about smart budgeting. “You never think it’s going to happen and here it is happening,” she said, “but then I could sit and remember, you were prepared for this.”
The economic shutdown has meant radical changes in spending but changing spending habits could be a chance to re-evaluate spending priorities, according to Greene. “I went to Big Lots the other day, what with the craziness and there being no toilet paper, and I walked into Big Lots and thought, I’m an idiot. Why am I not coming here all the time when all of the things are half the price?” she said.
Greene, whose mother was an insurance broker, believes this is an empowering time to invest in our personal finances, especially for women. “It is a time for women to feel very empowered,” she said. “There’s so much more that I could know, but I feel very empowered by the fact that I am in control of myself and my finances.” Greene has just signed up for an online finance course through Yale, thanks to a friend’s recommendation. “You can do it on your computer. You can learn it at home so you don’t feel embarrassed that you’re starting from the ground floor.”
Greene hopes that other women will encourage each other to learn more about their financial futures. “I would encourage every woman to do it,” she said, “and teach your daughters. I was very lucky to have the dad that I have.”