As you can probably tell from the tagline of the blog, one of the purposes of it is to serve as a journal of my thoughts on life. As I have moved along my path I have developed a certain view of the world. I am not saying it is the correct view, just my personal view that I want to document for you.
You might find it interesting, at various points in your life, to reference my viewpoints should you need an honest opinion on something. You might also enjoy learning about some of my experiences and what I have learned from them.
Then again…….you might not. In which case, this is just an exercise in futility. Either way, I enjoy writing so what the heck!
The second purpose of this blog is to give you a trusted resource to learn about personal finance. I know, I know, “how boring dad“!
I get it, learning about managing your money is probably not your idea of fun but I will try to make it at least tolerable.
Look at it this way, understanding your money and how it works is your roadmap to financial independence. Imagine being young enough to still enjoy playing but not having to work anymore to pay for it!
Understandably, you are 11 so you do not have to work now outside of normal chores but stay with me.
There will come a time in the not-too-distant future that you will be done with school and ready to make your own mark on the world. When this happens it is important that you know how to manage your money and save for your future.
Luckily, there are a ton of books out there to help you understand your finances. Those, of course, are secondary to my scribes! You also have a huge advantage over me when I was your age because of this insignificant resource called the Internet. Ha!
I mean the sheer number of videos, blogs, and podcasts out there about personal finance is simply incredible. But there is a catch! You still need to figure out what is factual and what is advertising masking as fact.
There is a saying out there that I find both funny and cautionary at the same time. I have no idea who coined the phrase but here it is…..
“It has to be true, I read it on the Internet“.
Whether it’s a book, a teacher or the web, always do your research and never act on one individual piece of information. You might trust the person or resource but you still need to verify the knowledge thrown at you.
Okay, so there are myriad reasons that I want you to understand money and personal finance but paramount among all others is your ability to have choices in your life. It is an unfortunate fact that a lack of money can very easily trap you into situations you are not comfortable with.
Choices give you the power to control your life and influence your future. Choices can very often; but not always, make uncomfortable situations avoidable. Choices can help make life more enjoyable and interesting and that is my wish for you.
Ultimately, the decision to manage your money is your own. There will not be anybody (other than me perhaps) telling you what to do and checking in to make sure it is done.
In grade school, you are required to attend class and your mom and I know if you do not. Your teachers also care deeply about your learning and ability to apply that knowledge.
When you get to college however, that all goes away. As long as your tuition is paid, nobody cares what you do with your time and nobody will follow up. You are on your own to make that experience count and to develop the skills necessary to become successful in your career.
That, in a nutshell, is what you need to understand about your financial future. There is not going to be anybody (again, except for me) that cares about how much money you save and invest.
I believe that there are two very important stages in our financial lives and completing those stages is entirely up to us as individuals. These are the two stages of Financial Independence.
- The First Stage is when you become financially independent from your mother and I. At this stage, you can afford to house, clothe and feed yourself. Your career will just be starting and the world will be wide open in front of you. You are going to feel an incredible sense of freedom and maturity.
- The Second Stage is when you become financially independent from your work. From this point forward you will have complete freedom to do whatever you want in life. If you choose to keep working, great! If you choose to pursue a personal passion project, great! The decision is truly yours to make. Sounds pretty cool, huh?
As you pursue these stages by being intentional with your money you will face obstacles. One such obstacle is very hard to avoid.
You will start to see those closest to you driving really nice cars (purchased with borrowed money). You will see your friends with clothes from the best stores and with the best brands (purchased with a credit card). Why shouldn’t you follow along?
Well basically most, if not all, of your friends will not understand (or care about) personal finance. They may be extremely intelligent people but simply have never taken the time to educate themselves about money. Remember, it is not taught in schools so who could blame them?
Credit cards and borrowing (also called financing) will become common words although completely misunderstood. As a result, buying stuff you don’t need and can’t afford is going to seem normal and expected. It will be incredibly difficult to save money amidst all that pressure to keep up with the crowd.
That is one of the reasons your mother and I have made a conscious effort to reinforce certain beliefs. A few examples would be that it does not matter what other people do or think. It also does not matter what people think or say about you. What matters is whether or not you are doing everything you can to be a better person.
A small but incredibly important component of being a better person is your ability to take care of yourself financially.
Stand out from the crowd for the right reasons. Feel proud of the fact that you have money in the bank and can handle life’s unexpected emergencies. Take peace in knowing that if your job becomes unbearable you are not stuck without options.
Remember, the ability to make choices gives you the power to live life on your terms and not those that want or expect something from you.