What money lessons do you wish you had started earlier in life?
The definition of hindsight is an “understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed.” Hindsight is a great thing. Upon reflection of past major decisions you have made, there is often a feeling of “I wish I had done this better” or “If only I had known to…” This certainly holds true with major financial decisions we make. What financial practices do you wish you had started at an earlier age? What financial mistakes have you made that upon reflection you would have managed differently? What financial lessons would you preach to your younger self?
Start Saving Yesterday
A common hindsight moment we often have is – “I wish I had started saving earlier.” Flashback to your younger years when you would save for a big goal – like a bike or a phone. You would refrain from unnecessary spending with the sole intention of saving every dollar in pursuit of building enough funds to purchase the bike/phone. Once you had reached the figure required to get your dream bike, you would spend it. Good job. However, your savings would be back to square one and you would already be planning the next big-ticket item to save for. This isn’t an all-together bad way to manage your finances – especially when we are young. The savings habits are fostered but the purpose of this lesson is to constantly save regardless of whether you are saving for the bike or building an emergency fund. You want to make your money work for you here. You earn a lot. You spend a lot. What’s left over? Sound familiar? In a roundabout way, this is the same constant that is occurring when you were younger. Learn to save and refrain from touching your saving fund. To make the most of compound interest; put your money aside and watch it grow – your interest earning interest. Compound interest as defined by Investopedia is interest calculated on the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods of a deposit or loan.
The one lesson to take note of here is that our savings need to be continuously growing over time. Be it for the dream holiday, the new car, the rainy day fund or even for the new bike or phone.
Utilise Christmas Savers
Staying with the savings theme, have you considered a Christmas Saver? The premise is simple; you make regular contributions to the savings account which you can only access from the 20th November 2018, allowing you extra income and freedom at what is often an overwhelming period. For more info on the Christmas Saver see “The answer to your Christmas Finance woes” and “What our members have to say”
Think back to when you would go to the supermarket with mum and every week there would be the obligatory deposit into the Christmas Saver scheme. She was onto something, and while you do not see immediate benefits when it came to Christmas time and the funds became available, it was like Christmas had struck!
Try to pay off Credit Card Balance in full each month
That is the main target, if you do find yourself in a position of owing money on your credit card(s). Do not, repeat DO NOT settle for simply paying off the monthly minimums. This will inevitably result in paying large amounts of interest which has the potential to burden you over a sustained period. If you find yourself in a financial bind where you have multiple debt channels look to formulate a strategy to become debt free. Check out “Debt Snowball or Avalanche, What’s the best way to tackle your debt?”
Alternatively, a debt consolidation loan is a good option when you are faced with multiple payments to different organisations. A debt consolidation loan helps simplify your finances by combining all your debt into one simple loan. This is a simple way to de-clutter and organise your finances, allowing you to sort and take control of your finances with one loan, one interest rate and one regular payment. Simple.
Like each of these other lessons, you are never too early to plan a budget. Track your expenditure and given today’s smartphone-driven world this is made even easier with many apps available at your fingertips to guide you with the task. Simply put, a budget is about deriving where you wish to allocate your income for a given period – accounting for fixed/regular and irregular costs. When you were younger just think how you would spend your money once you received it? Or even you’re first payday? – sure caution would have been thrown to the wind. Remember to aim to live within your means and your budgeting processes will be made that much simpler and manageable.
The final lesson we will promote is patience. Simple. In today’s fast-paced, want-now society, the art of patience and ‘good things happen to those who wait’ type of mindset is seldom present and/or rewarded. When it comes to personal finance, persistence really does pay off. Appreciate that wholesale change is not going to happen overnight, that a multitude of steps will need to be reached for you to accomplish your savings and debt-clearance goals. Always strive to better, we could all be better placed financially if we could go back to our younger selves and provide a blueprint for financial success.
Have you got any lessons you wish you could tell your younger self>