March 17, 2017
What would you want to tell your kids, or your grandkids, about money? What if you could go back in time and give yourself a heads-up?
The latter is a fairly cruel rhetorical question - but it doesn't mean you can't tell your kids about the mistakes you've made. Production Manager Lisa has the following advice for anyone who’s ever struggled with making the most of their money - or allowed a debt to mount up before their eyes.
There are so many things I would have liked to have done differently.
I wish myself and Jim [Lisa’s partner] had done what the Australians tend to do, and paid off whacking great chunks of the mortgage before we had kids. Instead of just paying back what the bank told us to pay. Many Australians have no mortgage by the time they’re in their 40s, especially if they are still in the first house they bought. We didn't - we did the opposite and did loads of travelling and holidays and didn't think of the future.
I'm not saying we didn't have a great time - we did - but at that age with better financial planning we could have been set for life. We just assumed things were always going to be the way they were then. We both had good jobs and money was just no issue. To us it was all disposable income, but it's a fool’s paradise!
I recommend getting on the property ladder. I was so proud of getting on the ladder at 23. It felt very grown up and ‘sorted’! During our time together, Jim and I have used the money we had from property twice to allow us to make massive lifestyle changes, i.e. going out to Australia and coming back.
It sounds obvious, but I wish I had started saving earlier. In terms of things which make me cringe, I sort of regret making four international moves; fairly unnecessary! I did have a penchant for $300 silk shirts for a while; lovely yet not needed.
In terms of investment, I have very few regrets, but I wish we hadn't come home to the UK from Australia, and then gone back again! It cost us a lot of money. I spent a lot of time unable to make up my mind about what was important. I wish we'd kept our first flat as an investment property and bought another house when we came back from Oz.
Taking guidance from other people - especially parents - is so important. I wish I'd listened to my Dad more instead of thinking I had it all under control. He was so wise and clever with money. My Dad tried to talk to me - but I didn't listen. I thought I had all the answers.
I’ve made three financial mistakes. The first was having a credit card; I found it too easy to build up debt, and I’m so glad I don't have one now. I know some people can use them without any bother, but I found it too easy to live beyond my means. You need to learn to think "I can't afford that - I'll have to save up."
I also regret selling two houses when the market wasn’t profitable.
Thirdly, I worked for someone who wasn’t very good at paying me, and allowed him to owe me £15k at one point. My advice to anyone is never let debt build up, always tackle it and don't stick your head in the sand. Whether it's money you owe, or money owed to you, deal with it today.
In terms of expensive mistakes, one springs to mind; we should have stayed with my parents when we got back to the UK, rather than striking out on our own without jobs and using the money from the sale of our house in Oz to live off. Jim still doesn't have a job four years later! And now most of that money is gone, as I carried on living as we always have, assuming that it would all come good and right as it always has.
Jim’s job always suffers when there is a recession (he's an advertising copyrighter), and this time it just hasn't happened for him. So we are a bit financially stuffed as we are now on one salary, with no mortgage and no savings!
Despite my financial wobbles, I’m feeling much better about my relationship with money. It’s so much better, and hopefully we’ll be able to resurrect something from the pile of ashes that is our finances at the moment. Fingers crossed!
Disclaimer: These are personal views, not the views of The Lifehouse.Co