Chris Newell, like me a 40 something, has done a lot of thinking and grappling with her relationship with money.
While not a case study per se, it’s a great example of real-life issues and real-life solutions.
My philosophy for money was shaped while I was quite young, and this has served me in many ways, but I have struggled with money issues and have been extremely stressed out about money, many times throughout my life.
Like many baby boomers, I got my first full time job and moved into my own apartment right after finishing high school. (This wasn’t so much a choice, as it was the circumstances in my life at the time). The process of survival seemed obvious to me. Get a job. Get paid. Pay the rent. Buy the food. Play with what’s left over. Because one of my jobs at that time was working in a bank, I also had a chance to learn a lot about financial management such as budgeting, credit, loans, savings and investing. This knowledge has been invaluable to me as it has helped me navigate the tumultuous financial waters of my life of changing jobs, unemployment, and health crisis, not to mention financially assisting many relationships, (I tended to be attracted to the co-dependent types).
My feelings about money have waxed and waned throughout my life, but overall I’d have to say that I’ve probably felt more angst and contempt about it than peace and joy. Today I work hard at my relationship with money, which means, like any relationship, there’s what I put into it, and what I receive from it.
I have a formula which I’ve adopted for this:
Money – Earn It; Spend It (Needs 1st, then Wants); Save It; Grow It; Share It.
As long as I adhere to this, I feel that the relationship is healthy, positive and amicable. Getting credit at 18 years of age and maintaining a good credit rating throughout my life and starting my RRSP’s at 29 years of age, have been two of my smartest financial decisions!!
Both have allowed me to survive when I was unemployed and/or in a health crisis, and both have allowed me to pay for big ticket items such as a car, vacations and my condominium. While I’m not a financial management expert, these are two things that I encourage anyone to do, ideally when they are young, but to implement as soon as possible, at any age.
Of course, getting a job that pays well can help a lot, but that wasn’t the case with me. I never made more than the average person, ($12.00 p/hour) and with changing jobs so many times, I never had a chance to build up my employment capital (pay raises, company benefits, pension plans), so the money I have and use now has not necessarily been from what I’ve earned, it’s been from what I’ve done with the money I’ve earned. Another quote inspired me to do this: “It’s not what you earn, it’s what you save.”