|Catching the bus to see my accountant yesterday, a la The Millionaire Next Door (one of my favourite books)|
A big behind-the-scenes passion that I’d love to pursue one day is to inspire women to view money differently. To look at financial management as fun and exciting, and to see monetary goal-setting and having savings as really enjoyable (because you get to dream!)
My financial life changed dramatically when I started viewing money management as fun. I'd note down my paydays, expenditure and automated outgoings in my diary each week and kept a running total of my balance. I felt organised and like I could achieve financial freedom one day because the saying really is true about taking care of the pennies (and the pounds will take care of themselves).
It all started in the nineties when I worked with three different financial planning companies as a secretary, over several years. I saw that it wasn't just 'old people’ who came in for appointments, it was women my age as well. I was impressed that someone in their twenties would bother to set up a savings plan or even visit a financial advisor. One of my bosses ran financial seminars for women where experts spoke and there were women of all ages there.
I feel really grateful that I picked up good information and a change of attitude during this time of my life. These were pre-Internet days (for me anyway) and so I would haunt the public library for financial books. I'd flick through them and if they looked boring I'd put them back straight away. My favourites were the ones that were written in normal-people language and would, if I was lucky, include inspiring stories of how people got to the financial position they had.
I still love a good savings/financial success story; I think it’s how we learn best - by hearing other peoples’ stories. One of my favourite chapters to write in my new book Thirty Chic Days was Day 23. Be financially chic. In this chapter I go into detail about how my husband and I are paying off our home loan early – twenty years early!
I think it all comes down to good financial habits, having respect for money, spending less than you earn, in fact all those ‘boring’ guidelines that your grandparents probably lived by. To me though, they are anything but boring; I’d put being debt-free over a shopping trip any day of the week.
And it wasn’t always that way for me. Like any girl who loves pretty things, I used to fritter away my pay on cute tops, glossy magazines and inexpensive trinkets. I still do love pretty things, but the difference is that now I don’t feel the need to own them to enjoy them. I would rather have a clutter-free home than more ‘stuff’, too.
Sometimes we shop to cheer ourselves up and that’s understandable, but if we do it so often that it becomes a habit, we cut off our creativity and can’t think of other ways to bring ourselves pleasure.
How are you with money? What would your financial report card say? Do you make joint decisions with your other half? If you are single, do you feel positive about the way you handle your money?
I have the basics of finances down, but after visiting my accountant yesterday I realised I’d really like to learn the essentials of accounting so I can at least know what he’s talking about. My husband understands that stuff fine, he has a business degree, but I want to know for myself! I’m going to find a good ‘Accounting for Dummies’ type book to learn the basics. That’s my action step for today. What’s yours?
Until tomorrow, be financially chic!