We all know about those conversations that you are never to have at the dinner table. When such topics are brought up, they seem to become the “Trojan Horse” in the room. Growing up, it seems that there were many things that our parents don’t want to talk to us about because they believe we are unable to fully comprehend what is going on.
I grew up with my grandmother because my parents were out of the country most of the time. There were three things my grandmother never talked about: money, politics, and my grandfather (touchy issue). Like me, most of you grew up in an environment where topics or conversations about money were simply brushed aside. Why do conversations about money seem to leave a soar taste in the mouths of people? Why is it such a taboo to talk about money? Would you prefer to have had this conversation when you were younger so that you would not have made stupid financial mistakes?
About 19 years ago, not all of us had computers with internet on it. But, in this day and age with advancements in technology and knowledge being easily as accessible with a mouse click, we should be able to find information about money with discussing it with our parents (although I understand hearing their experiences dealing with money helps put things into perspective). Some of you are wondering, “But there is so much information out there, how do I find what caters to me?” The truth is that you are just going to have to go through a few trial and errors before you find out what really works for you. We are all very unique as individuals, and that sometimes structures how we spend our money. Having an understanding of your goals, needs, and wants helps you develop a financial plan that works for you, and helps you filter through the information that does not pertain to you.
I remember that when I first started saving at the age of 13, I used to simply put whatever was leftover (once I had bought everything that I had wanted) into savings. Not my brightest idea, because I used to think of my savings account as where my rainy day money went (as I was still relying on Bank of Mom). The funny thing was that it always seemed to be a rainy day --buying every single type of fashion magazine for the month or purchasing a new pair of Nike’s that I wanted back in my tomboy days-- and those rainy days seemed to always deplete my savings account.
After reading an article about saving money in a magazine, -- if I wanted to see money grow in my savings account-- I quickly learned that I had to consider saving as a fixed expense. So I started small, by putting away £ 10 (my first job was in London, UK) from my bi-weekly paycheck for about 6 months till we moved to Arizona in 2007 (money I totally forgot about when I moved). This summer I visited England and discovered that I had almost £90 sitting in a savings account that had accrued interest. Imagine my shock when I discovered that, I had all this money sitting in an account for the past five years (it had accrued an additional £30 that I did not have).
As a result of my previous misconception of my savings account and the article I read, how I deal with my finances now (with regards to savings) has been better. Most of us will not get creating our financial plans right the first time around, but we will eventually get around to getting it right. I find that when it comes to talking about money, my friends seem more open to have those conversations than my parents are because they have made mistakes due to no one ever talking about it to them. (Or you could just continuously badger your parents/guardians till they give in; good luck with that if you grew up with some like my grandmother (she was one tough cookie!).
Despite the fact that learning about money from close relative can be a pre-emptive way to avoid making mistakes, who really needs the money talk conversation when the internet can just about answer all your questions. Are you ready to expand your financial knowledge past your parents by talking with friends, and doing some research on the internet?