Ok, lets get going on a topic right away….Money. Wow! Everyone needs it, alot of people write about it and still more talk about it. Well, I am going to also. But, this post will talk about one aspect of our money. The simple fact so many of us never get taught how to deal with it or handle money properly when we are young. I have spoken to people all over the country. There seems to be a very large percentage of us who never were given the knowledge from their parents or even teachers. When I went to school, there were no classes on how to handle debt or how to budget your income. I wanted to see a business class that showed us how to do that and even balance a checkbook! These are real life practical items to teach our teenagers before they get out into the world and have problems with their personal finances.!
I do speaking engagements and draw up budgets for people, I have seen and heard alot of people that loose control of their money due to not knowing how to handle it.
Now, anyone can sit here and write all this and never experienced it. However, I am going to give you some of my own experience to “put my money where my mouth is”.
Ok, when I was an adolescent I actually think my dad did try to teach us about how to handle a buck. I can remember going to the bank and opening a savings account at his suggestion then him teaching me about interest that the bank gives you when you leave your cash in the bank.
I also remember him saying at one point – I think I wanted my first 10 speed or something – (it was a whopping $60.00 at that time) – “If you want something you better go earn the money because I am not gong to give it to you”. Ok, first of all that sounds mean, right? Sure, but alot of us were told that in one way or another and I am a firm believer that by my father doing that, it has given myself and my 3 brothers the boot we needed to get what we want as we go through life. You know the saying: You can give a person a fish and he will eat for a day, or , you teach that person to fish and he will eat for a lifetime?
Yeah, that’s got some truth to it. I asked him when I was 14 or 15 yrs old “what can I do to make the money I need”? His response was: “put an add in the paper to mow lawns”.
Huh, not a bad idea. …so I did that. Worked great for 2 or 3 years! We got all the cash we thought we needed at that age. Personally, if truth be told, I have not mowed a lawn in 15 or so years now. I guess you could say it is called “burned out” from doing that stuff! Yeah, now I call someone else to mow my lawn! Anyhow , hope you get the point, just threw the extra twist in for humor.
Let’s move on, I do not think I was told how to handle debt or a checkbook. Maybe some other things that are not coming to mind at the moment.
I did not ever screw up my checking account but I did have debt issues in my 20’s. Had somehow acquired way too many credit cards and slowly started to use them and get balances on them. I know I told you that I read about all this stuff and studied it for 20 years (which would be since I was 19 yrs old) and now I am writing that I had credit card problems. Well, yes I did, we all have mistakes to learn from. In my early 20’s I was in sales and worked on commission only for about 7 years. This was the beginning of a very bad downward spiral in relation to my personal finances. What happened was that I would charge day to day living expenses when I did not have the income during a slow month AND charge the same stuff when I had a great month because I thought that just in case the following month was slow I did not want to spend it all at once from the good months. Wow, that got me messed up. Went into debt and at 26 or so filed bankruptcy! Not a fun year. That was a very stressful thing to do and totally humiliating. I would not want to live through that again. Nonetheless it was a learning experience.
What I have learned to focus on is not to have any revolving debt (ie. credit card debt). I have even gone further than that to where I do not have car payments which so many of us have. Yeah, I got real sick of paying for cars month after month and year after year! I will write my strategies on that in another topic.
If you have young children, slowly start introducing the subjects about responsibilities with household expenses such as how you pay for the utilities by going to work to earn dollars to pay to keep the heat or lights on, you know what I mean? Simple stuff at first. So many are getting into huge problems now Right in college! The credit card companies are like vultures giving kids the lines of credit and the students do not all know how to handle it! Now the parents are held responsible in alot of cases. Teach them not to do it! Now that the bankruptcy laws have changed, the debt does not just go away anymore. In addition, if you file for bankruptcy because you cannot pay all your debt, you have a mandatory credit counseling course to attend.
Personally, I would love to see the American public not live on so much revolving debt. It is scary to me. Not exactly sure what happened but I think it is way out of line. All I hear about time and time again: “we make such and such dollars and we have “X” amount of debt and can only make the minimum payments, etc, etc.
I have a real cool little trick to put out here. I thought of charging for it, but, then thought it would be fun to give it away and see if anyone applies it. I did this one once and it scared the pants off me! It certainly had me paying attention to what I would waste my money on after that! Try this fun experiment if you have the self discipline, it is real easy:
For 2 weeks, keep a small note pad in your pocket or desk at home/work. …This is the fun part…Write down EVERYTHING you purchase each and every day. Yep, simple as that.
If you do that, then after 2 weeks you go back and read it all over. Oh yeah, you will be astonished at what you do. You will find what you waste money on and what you need real quick. This is an exercise that I have people do to show them where there may be some “fat trimming” in personal spending. It WORKS!
So, I hope I have completed a thought and someone has learned something from it.
I will be writing more here in the near future, I have alot of topics that interrelate so I hope you enjoy. If you have any questions feel free to email me at [email protected] FYI- I do public speaking for companies and independent groups. Also, I draw up budgets and help guide people in relation to their personal finances and getting ahead.
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