As a child growing up, I thought about money and making money a lot. I was fascinated about how my parents earned money, how my dad ran his business, how my grandfather ran his, and how banks operated like the one my grandmother worked at. I was intrigued by money, by saving, and by investing. When I was real little money wasn’t an issue to me, I didn’t grow up wanting a better lifestyle. I was happy in our small home and playing pretend. Sure, I didn’t have all the gadgets, technology or toys that other kids had, but I had a brother and our combined imaginations kept us busy for weeks on end.
As I grew a little older, I became more aware of my family’s money situation. I would listen to my parents discuss money issues or decisions regarding my father’s logging business. Anyone that knows the Northeast’s logging industry, knows that anyone who owns a logging company isn’t on very stable financial ground, and we were no exception. My dad worked long hours and was really good at his job, but no matter how much he worked and how good he was, fate just had his business destined to fail. But, it was this failure that really began to open my eyes.
I had been saving every penny I ever came across from the minute I was five years old and began investing at age 11, when my nana bought me five shares of Coca-Cola. But, when my father’s business went under I really began to realize the importance of saving and investing. My father had never been one to save money and my mother liked to try, but bills always saw that money right back out in no time. So, when the business went under, we had no emergency fund to hold us over.
It was my parents’ tight financial situation and the choices and situations that followed, that really impressed on me that I needed to get my money straight. Of course it helped to that I was obsessed with becoming wealthy enough to retire early. Since then, I have devoured every text on personal finance, investing, budgeting, saving money, earning more money, and running a business that I can get my hands on. I have notebooks and notebooks full of scribbles where I planned out my financial future.
I now realize that while the best of plans may fail, the act of planning at least gets the ball rolling and headed in the right direction. While, I don’t wish what happened to my parents onto anyone else, I hope that everyone is able to come to the realization that I did before they ever leave high school. Going into college well aware of my financial situation and where I wanted to go and how I planned to get there was probably the best thing that could ever happen to me financially. I know am actively planning for my retirement, paying back my student loans, saving for a house, funding an emergency fund, saving for a wedding, and getting my girlfriend involved in our finances. The advantage of starting so early, is that I now have many extra years of compound interest on my savings and will benefit from starting my financial future out with good habits.
How have you or how did you start out your early adult years financially? What do you wish you would have done differently? What made you wake up and begin to worry about your financial future? Let me know below in the comments section!