The following is a guest post from Wayne at Young Family Finance, where he writes about the financial challenges for young couples and families, like choosing between daycare or stay at home parenting.
Have you always been responsible with your finances? When did you learn to take charge of your finances? Was it later than you would have liked or have you always been on top of your finances? While there are some who are considered to have been born with a calculator in their hands, most learn to take control of their finances later than they would like. Many individuals and families that I talk to express regret or speak of mistakes that they have made in their finances. Have you ever wondered what makes people change their approach to finances?
Why People Get Serious with Their Finances
As I mentioned, if often (but not always) takes a huge mistake for people to become responsible with their finances. I am sure you can relate. My boss, who is in his mid 40′s often speaks of his financial burden of student loans. He is a well-educated individual, but he is in up to his head with school loans. He not only took out loans for his first masters degree, but also his Ph.D. and 2nd masters.
I know you are wondering why anyone would go to graduate school for 10 combined years, but that is what it took to follow his dreams and secure a job in his field. After graduating from his most recent degree, these bills came due and forced him to change his spending habits. It is stories like these that are all too common. Whether it’s school loans or spending habits, eventually life makes you wake up.
The Earlier You Learn, The Better
When did you become responsible with your finances? Was it when you were in college? Or maybe sometime in your 20′s? If you have ever talked to someone who has drastically changed their approach to finances, I can almost guarantee that you have heard some form of the saying, “I wish I would have started earlier…”
This phrase has a lot of merit to it. Not only does this mean a smaller hole to dig yourself out of (or less debt to overcome), but it also means that you have more years to save or invest your money. If you have ever heard of compound interest, you know that time is on your side with long-term investments. The longer that you have your investments sitting there, the more money you are earning from interest (and then money off of the money). Starting early helps you get ahead. It may even allow you to start building wealth in real estate while your young, providing for an early retirement.
If you are just starting to take control of your finances, just think of the benefits that you are starting now instead of later. You may still wish that you started saving for retirement or other things in the past, but you can only change the future. Focus on what you can do and take pride in the fact that you are on the path to success.
When did you learn to be responsible with your finances? Do you wish you started earlier?
Crystal’s Comments: I seemed to be a budgeter from birth. I was even known to hoard my candy at Halloween to dole it out to myself little by little. But my biggest piece of financial advice to everyone so far has been to start saving and investing as early as possible – even if that is right now.