By the time I was six years old, my parents – having been good parents – had drilled it into my skull that I could grow up to be anything I wanted. They had faith in me and, I imagine, were suffering delusions of med school, the bar exam, perhaps a Mercedes Benz in the garage of a lovely, little summer house on the coast.
Grow up to be anything I wanted? Well, that sounded just dandy.
I chose to be a panther.
I don’t mean a panther in the sense of any political affiliation. I honestly believed that, when I was old enough, I could simply change into an Isabella Rossellini-esq Cat Person. Imagine my heartbreak when it was imparted to me that, no, I had to stay the same species. The Tooth Fairy Controversy and the Santa Claus Conspiracy had nothing on this; this parental deceit cut me to the bone.
I, eventually, got over it (although, I still watch Animal Planet with a certain petty envy).
As I approached the age of reason, I was warned against drugs, alcohol and casual sex. I was taught right from wrong and to always protect the little guy. These are good things. However, what wasn’t instilled from a young age was the concept of financial planning and the importance of having a sturdy economic foundation. This is, in no way, an indictment against my parents. Mama tried, y’all.
With this in mind, it seems to me that there are three basic monetary lessons that should be conveyed to young people, often and loudly:
Tip 1: Credit cards are not the same as Monopoly money: my brother was $50,000 in credit card debt by the time he was 24. This was mainly because he spent a whole lot of cash on Vivienne Westwood shoes and didn’t think the credit card company was serious about getting their money.
Tip 2: You really do need credit: I was shocked, also at 24, when I couldn’t rent a car because I didn’t have a credit card. I thought I was being smart by not having credit card debt. The problem with having no credit card debt is that you also have no credit.
Tip 3: Don’t spend more than you earn/have: I know, this seems pretty obvious, but it’s surprising how many people back themselves into this sad, little corner. If you’re making $2,000 a month, why are you attempting to live in a $3,000 apartment?
Bourke Accounting is not a daycare center, nor does it aspire to be. However, every child deserves knowledge. It might not be a bad idea to bring your (well-behaved) child to your next appointment with Bourke Accounting. We have candy!
Written By Sue H