As some of you may know, before I decided to turn my world upside down and be at home with Boo, I spent over a decade working in financial services. I started out on the counter in a branch, and worked my way through all roles in the branch, including savings and mortgage advisor jobs, branch manager, up through areas sales and mortgage network sales manager. I tell you this to paint the picture that I’ve seen a fair bit of other people’s finances. From the chats over the counter with regular customers on what they’re up to and what they’re saving for/taking out loans for, to thoroughly looking over people’s income and expenditure and bank statements and debts during mortgage applications. You won’t be surprised when I tell you that there are vast differences in the ways that people choose to manage their money! In fact, that phrase in itself is quite telling, as some people do ‘manage their money’ whereas others let finances and circumstances manage them.
Now, Boo and Little Man are a long way off managing their own money. They have got both savings accounts and long-term savings plans, that were set up for each of them within a couple of weeks of their births. You have to remember, I worked in this, so things like that are a priority for me! I’m pleased we’ve sorted those for them, as by starting really early, small sums can add up to a very nice nest-egg when they will need it most – a car, university, travelling, savings for a home, who knows? Over the next few years, as they grow and better understand money, I plan to teach them about it’s value, saving up for things they want, earning it through chores or rewards for good behaviour, and by setting them an example by how we manage it, too. I can only hope that these lessons along the way will set them up for a future with a good relationship with money, and on receiving their savings funds, I’ll share this advice…
Dear Boo & Little Man, (I suppose they may not like these nicknames at 18, but hey, they’ll always be my babies…!)
Here’s the money that mummy, daddy, and your grandparents have been saving up for you for all of your lives. It started small, and with little bits saved regularly, has built up into this nice and handy amount of cash to get you started on your way. It’s yours to do with as you wish, so spend it wisely. If you want to travel, study, save, buy, then do so, but please just enjoy the experiences and don’t waste a moment and a penny of it. Here are a few pieces of advice about money that I’d really like you to take on board..
When you work, save. Save a little bit, every single week. Do it from the very start of your working life, from that very first pay packet, and then you won’t miss it, as you’ll have never had it. Over time, you’ll have a comfortable emergency fund, and then with more time, you’ll have money to spend on whatever you want or need.
Always pay your bills on time, and make sure you have money set aside to do this. The odd missed payments soon add up, and that could be the start of a slippery slope and a poor credit file.
Get a credit card and use it. It will improve your credit rating, and do make sure that you get a card that rewards you for spending on it. But don’t spend what you don’t have – you should be paying it off in full every month without fail. You should take from it an improved credit profile and freebies from the rewards, and you should give nothing in return, not a penny of interest.
When it comes to house-buying, come to mummy for advice first – I know my stuff. I’ll help you navigate the legalities and the processes, and I’ll leave you free to make the exciting decisions about your first home. It’s yours, so I won’t interfere there!
We’ll always be here to help you, so always come to us when you need our help or guidance. Please, if something goes wrong with the advice we’ve given you, come to us early on so that we can support you.
And now to the most important lesson that I’d like to share. Money makes life easier, and savings behind you gives you more freedom of choices. Earn it and then manage it properly. Life is not about money, and I hope that you’ve already received that message from us loud and clear. Mummy gave up work to be with you both when you were small. It meant a lot less money for us all, but we have had time together, memories to treasure and so much more fun than money could have ever given us. Life is about this. Living. Family. Happiness. Money can’t buy you any of those things, but poorly managed money can take some of them away from you. Money needn’t be too complicated or difficult, as long as you manage it, right from the word go. Work out what you want from life first, then you need to figure out how to afford it. Now, that’s the bit that’s tough!
All my love,
What about you? What words of wisdom would you share?