Money, finance, investing? …ugh.
Money, finance, investing? …I’m too young to think about that.
If you reacted in either of these ways, this is a blog for you. If you like looking at cartoons instead of doing whatever it is you are supposed to be doing, this blog is for you too!
• You do not have to know a lot about money to be smart with it.
• Learning about money can be like reading comics, not taking medicine.
• If you do not want to think about your money, you are perfectly suited to some of the most reliable ways to invest (have your money make more money).
• If you are young and have no money to invest, you are still rich! See later posts and I’ll explain.
Finance doesn’t have to be your thing:
While waiting for my son’s swim lesson, I watched the little girl in an earlier class bob in the water, elbows up, buoyed by two puffy, plastic, floaty wings. It was nearing the end of her family’s session, but she had yet to get started. While her siblings stepped away from the wall and beat their arms and legs, somewhat successfully treading water, she stared warily at the swim instructor and continued clinging to her wings as tightly as they clung to her. The lesson couldn’t start until she took them off. The girl didn’t say anything, but beneath her timid looking features, I could see her jaw clench. Having worked in preschools, I have seen the look before. Really hot places would freeze over before she was taking those wings off. The swim instructor had her come and sit on the pool stairs. Slightly floating, the two were eye to eye. The swim teacher spoke in a calm matter of fact way, no squeaky baby voice or coaxing, not grown up to child, just person to person: “Swimming doesn’t have to be your thing. You don’t have to join a swim team or go to the pool for fun. After this summer, you can never even own another bathing suit in your life. But one day, you could fall into a lake or a pool. You have to swim well enough, so you don’t drown. It is about safety. It is okay if swimming is not your thing. We just have to make sure you are safe. Next time, you can take off the floaties because we need you to be safe.”
Finance (using money) is like swimming except there is nearly no way to avoid falling in. All humans will get knocked into the pool of finance and will spend their entire lives there. Like breathing, eating and needing to stay within a safe range of temperatures, knowing about money is a basic requirement. It doesn’t have to be your thing. It’s about safety. Most of us work our bottoms off for most or all our lives trying to get by; why can’t we get the inside scoop on how to make the most of our hard-earned cash?
Who I am:
I am a teacher and parent. I am not an expert in anything having to do with money. I learned a lot of things in school, but I still managed to make it through elementary school, high school, my bachelor’s degree and my master’s without getting a crash course in how money works. (Not counting my high school economics class, where I learned how to use a checkbook, a tool which, I’m pretty sure, almost no one uses anymore). Later than I would have liked, I made it a goal to educate myself about money. I have waded through incredibly tedious forms and websites and a range of books from confusing to very interesting. I have fought against some of the most formidable and sneakiest foes: boredom and fear. This and my background as a teacher are what I bring to this blog. It is my hope that people of all ages, from 5 to 95, can enjoy it.
Over ten years after my first attempt to make a budget, I went looking for a bit more info on how to be smart with money. The most frustrating part of this was not the lack of resources, but deciding who to trust. The person educating me on how to spend and save could also be trying to sell me something that may not be the best choice for me. In the sources section of my posts, I will list some of the books, websites, and podcasts that I have used to better understand money matters, as well as some that are just fun for kids and adults.
Disclaimer: In case it was not clear: I am not responsible for any of the decisions that you make, or any of the consequences that come from those decisions. In fact, even if you pay a financial advisor, (which I am not), if you read the fine print, they say the same thing. The buck stops with you.