I have a little secret that only a few people really know about me.
I love money.
Sounds weird but I do.
When I go buy a magazine, I go buy one about money.
I like reading books about money.
I like watching shows about money.
I like teaching my kids about money.
I like making our financial plan, or talking about our money goals.
Interestingly though, I hated my job at the bank. It wasn’t the kind of “money talk” that I liked, but ,I learned a lot!
Years and years ago, I read a book called “The Wealthy Barber”. It was an easy read, and explained everything you need to know about your own financial planning in Canada. I have re-read the book several times.
The author, David Chilton, just wrote another book called “The Wealthy Barber Returns” which I just read this weekend. It is an interesting book. It compliments some of the other books I have enjoyed: written by Derek Foster (Stop Working: Here’s How You Can!; The Idiot Millionaire), by David Bach (Smart Couples Finish Rich), and of course, Gail Vaz Oxlade (Debt Free for Life; The Money Tree Myth (great book to teach kids about money)). It also fits along the same lines as Gail’s TV show “Til Debt Do Us Part” and one of of my favorite websites and magazine: Moneysense.
I have made my children watch “Til Debt Do Us Part” many times (they actually like it), and have even reviewed the “Money Tree Myth Tree” book with them. We frequently talk about money, and we have a work and allowance system in our house to help teach them the value of money.
One of the reasons I started this blog is so I can record all the big details and little details of our life as a family. I don’t want to miss a thing. I can look back on these times fondly, and have a great record of the memories. My kids can also remember their childhood through my recordings.
Another reason, is for me to become more deliberate in my mothering, parenting, and really everything I do in life. When you write about things, you think about them more and then you become more accountable to yourself too. It provides a certain level of clarity, perspective and helps prioritize things.
Finally, I wanted a place to leave my kids some of my thoughts, feelings, persectives, teachings, knowledge and wise tid bits that I have learned.
My Dad died when I was 31 – just as I was starting a family. As I am getting older, dealing with the challenges of raising a family, balancing work and family, learning new things, I wish I had a bit more of his persective. Yes, I’m sure he told me many things – but I certainly didn’t write them down or remember them, and quite honestly you often only really listen when you are in a particular situation. So I wish I could just plug in a “search word” of “Dad’s thoughts on XYZ or ABC”. That’s what I want to leave for my kids too.
Yes, in part, I am writing this blog in case I die sooner than I am able to have all the conversations I want to have with my kids. Creepy I know. I guess that’s another little secret.
So I decided, I wanted to do some posts on money. I am not an expert, but I enjoy learning, and want to try to share what I have learned – and then what I have done that has been successful. It may be basic stuff – but man I am amazed at how many of these books offer the most basic advice – that apparently many people don’t know!
So kids: these posts will be for you in particular!
Tip number 1: Live within your means.
See what I mean? Basic. Yet millions live above their means.
Spend less than what you make. Always. Or, make more than what you spend. Not rocket science. Pure math.
In his second book, Chilton states that the biggest mistake people make is buying a house above what they can afford. Just because the bank says you can afford a certain amount, does not mean that you can afford it ! They look at what you can afford based on your gross income (money you make before all your taxes and deductions). You need to see what you can afford based on your after tax income and after proper savings.
Living within your means means you don’t put things on credit and figure it out later. You have the money set aside now or you make a plan to get the money before you buy it.
Living within your means is making choices. You can’t have it all – all at the same time that is. You have to pick and choose what your priorities are at this time.
Living within your means is learning how to say “I can’t afford that” when you can’t. It’s better than going along with a plan that you will literally pay for later – and it may not be pretty.
Living within your means may mean working harder, longer, getting more education, or getting a better job if you need to make more money to support how you really want to live. But get the better paying job before you start living grander!
Living within your means gives you a lot of security and peace of mind – something that is really priceless.
That’s it. The most basic, fundamental tip which will save you lots of headaches.