You don’t have to spend every dime you make, and if you invest wisely enough you won’t have to worry later in life about making every dime that you want to spend.
Starting Debt (01.01.19): $124,310.77
Current Debt: $107,793.15
Total Paid Off: $16,517.62
Income Going to Savings: 1%
I was probably a spoiled kid.
Both my Mother and Father grew up with next to nothing. They lived humble lives in very rural environments, and they learned to work hard and make their own way in this world.
I was born into modest settings as well. Not long after birth, my father bought a piece of dirt and put a double-wide trailer on it. He had just started a trucking business, and took out two loans to pay for a new home for his family.
Hold up for a second…
There is the making of a really good country song in that paragraph. You’ve got trucks, a double-wide, and dirt. If I can figure out a way to retroactively add a rodeo in there, Garth Brooks has his new smash hit!
In my early years, we didn’t have much. However by the time I hit around 11 or 12 years of age, my Dad was making a pretty good living, and our quality of life improved dramatically. I had more junk than the average kid, and if there was something I asked my parents for, I usually had it in a relatively short amount of time.
You can call that spoiled for sure, but I truly believe that because both of my parents had very little growing up, they decided that their kids would never know that feeling of wanting something you couldn’t have. This is a totally understandable frame of mind given their childhoods and while it’s an incredibly wonderful position to be in when you’re a kid, what they didn’t realize by giving us everything they wanted is that they weren’t ever allowing us to get a taste of the struggle that they went through.
If I wanted a new toy (I was a big Transformers nerd), my parents didn’t say, “Well then save your money up and go buy your little Optavius Prime Rib then!” Instead they just bought it for me. As a teenager I didn’t have to save for my own car, instead they just bought me one. I didn’t have to pay insurance for it either. Hell, I didn’t even have to pay for my own gas!
Now let’s just record scratch this blog post for one second and make something very clear: I’m not for one moment blaming my current financial situation on the fact that my parents treated me awesome as a kid! I had it really well, and I totally get that.
My point is that I spent a good portion of my young life being trained that if I wanted a thing, I got that thing… and usually right away.
So now I move out on my own, and I get married, and guess what? It turns out all of those things cost money when you don’t have parents to give them to you!
Not only did I have to pay for all of the fun things, but I actually had to pay for really lame stuff too like electricity and food. OH AND GET THIS… I had to actually pay for the GAS IN MY CAR!
The reality of this set in, and I couldn’t cope. I still wanted to have fun stuff and I wanted to have it now. So I started taking out credit cards, and lots of them. I didn’t actually save for anything, but instead just took out high-interest loans and bought the stuff I wanted instantly. It was really easy!
We know that old Garth Brooks smash hit. I won’t sing it again… for now.
So as part of this journey out of debt, my wife and I have decided to help educate our children on what we’re learning as well. This means that my kids will be opening savings accounts, and that we’re actually going to ask them to save for things they want.
As an example, my son recently decided that he “needs” a cell phone. With our cell plan, we get a third line for free and can get a heavy discount on a phone. So we told him that if he saves for the phone, he can use the third line. He’s now putting money aside and meticulously tracking it so that he can purchase the phone.
I’ve also told him that a portion of the money he saves must go into a separate savings account or he can use it (with my help) to purchase some shares in companies when he saves enough. The point is that this percentage doesn’t get used for things like phones or other “necessities.”
My daughter is a bit younger and isn’t on the hunt for anything quite as extravagant as a cell phone, but she’s saving money too and will also be buying some shares of her own.
I want to slowly but surely engrain in my children the importance of saving money. You don’t have to spend every dime you make, and if you invest wisely enough you won’t have to worry later in life about making every dime that you want to spend.
Fellow parents, please keep this in mind as you raise your kids. Just because you can buy them lots of stuff doesn’t mean you should.