Hi! I’m creating a new blog. I hope you all will follow me over at that blog. I’ll post links to it here for a while before I stop posting altogether on here. The new page is spellboundscribbler.wordpress.com and please feel free to share it. I just posted my first blog at spellboundscribbler. Come on over and take a look!
A money tree would be nice, right? Recent events have reinforced me opinions on financial independence. Not financial security, I’ll get to that in a minute. Financial independence is not something I was taught. I’ve had to learn it the hard way. It goes hand-in-hand with work ethic and job stability and budgeting. All of these things work together, if you do it right.
This is how it should work. You grow up seeing your parents work hard and take care of all their responsibilities and live productive happy lives. You get an education and find employment doing something you enjoy and make enough coin to take care of all of your responsibilities and live a productive and happy life. Your children grow up watching you and learning the same lessons you did. But it doesn’t always happen that way.
In case you haven’t been playing along, I grew up watching my parents constantly argue over money. There was never enough. It never got spent in the right way. We didn’t know when more was coming. These are the lessons you don’t want to learn. It wasn’t until I was grown, married and divorced that I learned how to live on a budget.
Budgets are easy concepts, really. Total all of your necessary expenses. Subtract that from your net income. The difference is hopefully a positive number and it’s what you get to play with. If it’s negative, then you need to reevaluate your expenses and your source of income. We waste tons of money on fast food and stuff we don’t need. Eliminate that stuff and then see what’s left. If you’re still in the red, you may need to find a better paying job or a second job. Not an easy thing in today’s job market.
Now here is the tricky part. You need to be able to do this without relying on your parents, grandparents, third cousin twice removed or whomever to bail you out when you get overdrawn yet again. Don’t let the bail-out become a habit. Each of us needs to be able to stand on our own and manage our own money independently without needing a knight in shining armor with deep pockets. It doesn’t matter what gender, race, sports team, hair color or anything else you are, learn how to manage money and live on your own. That’s financial independence.
Knowing that you have financial independence is how you build financial security. That feeling of knowing how much you have in savings, that you could survive for at least 6 months if you lost your job, that you’ll have money to live on when you retire to that beach house, that feeling comes from knowing that you have the ability to make money and keep money.
Oh, and check your credit report regularly. Especially if you’ve been in a relationship where money was shared. Those recent events I mentioned? Yeah, my ex-husband never learned those lessons any better than I did. The difference is that he still hasn’t learned them. I had yet another call this week from someone looking to serve papers on him. I may go ahead and change back to my maiden name after all.
Something interesting happened to me this weekend. I was shopping for jeans. Not a big deal, I just didn’t want to pay half a paycheck for a pair. Found what I was looking for at a ladies plus size store. I’ve told ya before, I’m no Barbie. Lots of curves here.
The strange thing happened at checkout. I’ve shopped at this store before and hit the sales where you get a discount if you apply for a store credit card. For reasons I’ll get to in a minute, I’ve been turned down. This was one of those sale weekends so I figured, What the hell, it’s been long enough since the last time. So the clerk ran my information through the computer. Holy Schiznit! I got approved!
Let me say now that I have never had an actual credit card. Strange, you say?….. Consider this: I was never taught a work ethic except for doing my homework as soon as I got home from school. Mom worked sporadically until she got too sick. Dad changed jobs a lot, always trying to find a way to make his love of radio profitable but to no avail. So I didn’t have a lot of good examples.
I have had several jobs in my 40 years. The coolest is probably working as an educator at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, SC. Aggravating at times, but I got to pet stingrays and sharks on a daily basis. I was in heaven.
I have to say that I see younger friends, sometimes children of my own high school pals, forging out into the world without a stinking clue how to sustain themselves without help. Goddess knows I didn’t know how before I got married. My ex didn’t know any better than I did. When the marriage ended and I moved in with my aunt, she made sure to fill in the gaps in my education.
Let me give you some guidelines to lead you to financial stability at any age. Feel free to pass these on to anyone who needs to know. Yeah, that’s pretty much everyone on the planet.
Rule #1: Find something that you love to do, can do everyday without burning out too fast, and find a way to make money at it. You have to have income first of all.
Rule #2: Learn to live on a budget. This means you keep a list of all your bills that have to be paid and how much and when they’re due each month. If you don’t know how much your power bill is you probably shouldn’t buy concert tickets.
Rule #3: ALWAYS pay your bills first. Plan for them. If your phone is due on the 9th and you don’t get paid until the 10th, then you better have money from the paycheck before the 9th to cover it. It’s paramount to maintaining good credit to get your bills paid on time. If you can pay something ahead that’s even better.
Rule #4: Save your money. Not just for a rainy day, either. If you are the only source of income for your house, how will your bills be paid if you’re out of work for whatever reason for a month? Or two months? You need to build up enough savings to cover at least 6 months worth of bills, not extra stuff, just bills. I actually saw a bank ad that suggested taking 10% of your disposable income, that’s after you pay all your bills, and put that into savings. It may seem like a huge amount if you don’t make a lot, or it could seem like it’s not much. Either way you need to save that money.
Rule #5: Schiznit happens! This is that rainy day. A chipped windshield may cost $200 bucks to replace. If your deductible is set at $500 that means you have to pay for a new windshield out of pocket. Them’s the breaks, Chickadee. Stuff happens and we have to keep moving. Lying down and waiting for someone to come along and fix it for us is not how the world works.
Granted, I’m no financial adviser. I’m just a round white woman who got tired of being broke. I’m rebuilding my credit slowly but surely. I’m still tickled pink to get that department store charge card. You gotta start somewhere. If you don’t know where to start you won’t get where you want to be.