Again we talk. It is so worth it, even when they see it as a chore. Someone has to help them learn money because the world won’t abs school didn’t.
Many of the things that we do can daily can add to having a good life balance. By good balance, I mean being able to stay positive, deal with the immediate challenges in life and to manage a sound mind.
Eating good, sleeping good and regular exercise all form a good base to build a good balanced life upon. Focus on all of that for sure!
However, I think the best base to build on is a solid personal financial position. I am not talking about doing everything and anything to rip off people just so you can be super rich and become an arse in the process.
I have nothing against the super rich, in fact it would be nice to be that way. I could buy a lot of time with that. I do have a big problem with people being an arse, that is never good. I try to avoid being an arse but I am probably not always successful. I still believe in being ethical.
I am though, talking about every day people aligning their relationship with money to a positive, so that they can reduce one of many of the stresses in life.
Having no money is not great, earning money and still not having money is terrible because it points to so many other things in life.
For me, earning money and being skint at the end of the month, is the epitome of the life that Neo had in the movie the Matrix before he made the correct choice to take the pill that set him on a different path.
There is always time to choose the right pill so that you can eradicate yourself from the ‘Matrix’ and avoid that punishingly numb life of being stuck in the big machine, being sucked dry and slowly winding your way towards your retirement at the age of 65 where you don’t have much left and your oldish knees are dodgy.
A solid personal financial base is always a simple equation and by just getting a couple of key points into your daily routine, being consistent and forming a habit about it, then you can definitely make a difference… and it is surprising how quick things can build. What is even more surprising is what can happen in the long run; Compounding interest!
I share with my kids four key topics just so that they keep the big ideas in mind. They are both working on it and are both off to a good start in getting that balance but they, like all of us, live with the pressure from the advertising people who drive perceived need to buy bigger and better.
The first of the four simple things I guide my kids on is, ‘Spend less than you earn’. This seems like a no brainer but you would be surprised how many people live from pay-check to pay-check because they choose to just spend their money without careful thought or planning. Just spend less than you earn, work out a way of doing it that suits you, a budget, a biscuit tin approach, pay yourself first or whatever. But the overriding rule is, don’t spend all of your money that month.
The second guiding principle is ‘keep a stash of money for emergencies’. There are a lot of guides out there that will give you formulas to work out your optimal number and they are ok. You can work out using any one of them. However my rule of thumb would be to be stashing away £1,500 to £2,000 in the bank and keep it somewhere where it is readily accessible.
When I was talking with my daughter and I was saying that most people don’t have this kind of money for emergencies and went through how much some of the emergencies could costs, she asked me where people would get the money from… I had no real answer. I do know how people could get quick money but I also know that it is something you want to have a plan so you can avoid that slippery road.
The fourth point of guidance is, save your money regularly’ save a little and often. I am not talking about keeping some money in your savings bank. You have done that. You have got your Money Stash for emergencies. I am talking about saving in a higher interest account if you can get one, not easy to find these days, or even better invest in a cheap cost, indexed linked fund like a Vanguard account.
The last of the quick guiding principles is to get your head around interest, or to be more exact; ‘understand the beauty of compound interest’. this is something you just need to search and look up on the internet and throw some numbers into the calculator and see what happens. The beauty happens because of the length of time you stick with it… which is why I am trying with some limited success to get my kids investing now.
The world they will grow up in is going to be so very different, so very… well, Matrix like, and I hope that they can prepare for it. I hope you can too, it is never too late to start preparing. I started late in life and still working away at it with renewed focus.
For anyone that wants to dig deeper into personal finances then I recommend some further reading:
If podcasting or learning on the internet is your preferred way to soak up knowledge, then the best information by far is found on the Meaningful Money Podcast…
This podcast is also by Pete Mathew and is a complimentary to the book that I recommend above.
The best advice from me is to just START.
…and my follow up advice, don’t friggin STOP and then you can unplug earlier than planned.
Get out of the Matrix ASAP!