Last night tweeted that I will begin teaching my children financial literacy while they still inhabit my womb. (For all of my friends and family, I’m not remotely pregnant and won’t be for a while longer). As I watch my brothers, parents, grandparents, and ultimately myself age, I am realizing the importance of building and maintaining one’s financial health. My last name is not Rockefeller, Gates, or Buffet. Therefore, it is impertative that I plan wisely for my future seeing that I don’t have an endowment or modest trust fund I can tap into at any time.
I did a pretty good job of abusing my credit score in college and racking up a hill of debt once my student loans were added to my credit card bills. I am proud to boast that I have “Good” to “Excellent” credit score, at least 10% savings for a moderately priced home in the DMV, and a well-funded 401K. My sexy financial advisor pushed me to open a Roth IRA this year. Thank goodness he’s fine because his nagging would be unbearable! LOL! (He really isn’t that bad.)
As I put the finishing touches on my financial foundation and prepare to move into new terroritory (homeownership, mutual funds, and investment properties), I think not only of myself but of the crumb-snatchers I will someday bear. I plan to arm them with the best knowledge and financial habits as I and their future-Dad possibly can. So, as they each (I hope to have 2-3 expensive bundles of joy) kick me in my ribs or lay comfortably on my bladder, I will start teaching them these basic tips:
Empty your change purse or pockets once a week and place those coins your piggy bank. $.0.05 seems small as a lonely nickel. Add a few quarters, pennies, and dimes and you have a nice emergency reserve in the house. (And at least once, roll the coins yourself. It’s theraputic and gives a great appreciation for money.)
Have two savings accounts. One account that you dip into to cover bills and shopping trips. (If they are anything like me, they will thoroughly enjoy shopping.) The other account should NEVER be touched unless absolutely necessary. Buying a home counts as “necessary.” (Oh, automatic transfers makes savings much easier.)
Protect your credit at all costs. Yes, maxing out your $5000-limit credit card seems like a good idea when you’re a broke college student or broke recent grad but it will haunt you for many years. The high-interest rate I paid for my first car drove that point home many years ago. I vowed never again. So far, so good.
Lastly, plan for the future as much as you are able. Rainy Day funds and retirement accounts are necessary. (Though I’m sure by they time my kids are adults they’ll be like me, working until their last breath. LOL!) But it is important to save and plan ahead. Accidents happen. Roofs need repair. New cars need to be purchased. And as I hope, families are created that must be cared and provided for. You can’t plan for everything but you can plan for a good amount of life.
I look forward to adding to the list and learning a few new financial tips myself along the way. It’s never too late or early to become financially literate!