Hindsight is 20/20 vision, the saying goes. If you could give your younger self money advice, what would it be? We asked a few Bayport community members to share their financial wellness wisdom.
Donna: Don’t be afraid of money. It is not magic and it is not a mystery. Learn as much about it as you can, and treat it as your friend and your ally.
Trevor: Spend money on experiences. Stuff gets old, toys break, but an experience, especially one shared with people who are important to you, turns into a precious memory.
Sihle: Understand that money is about making decisions. Instead of saying “I can’t afford it”, rather say “I choose to spend my money on something else because…” and give a reason. Framing how you spend your money as a choice, puts you in control and reminds you that the power is in your hands.
John: Save up! I have learned the peace of mind that comes from having savings that can cover emergencies and planned expenses, such as new school clothes, furniture for the house or a vacation. Dear younger me, please put a portion of your salary away every month to cover short-term and long-term expenses, and save yourself lots of financial stress.
Sindie: Educate yourself. I know it sounds boring, but learning about money is fascinating as well as empowering. We live in a time where financial literacy is incredibly easy to access, so make use of the resources available to you. And don’t just believe the first so-called guru you come across – look around until you find the person or people whose advice resonates with you.
John: Talk about money. Discuss your financial goals and dreams, such as debt-free living, with your partner. Be open about your money concerns with your close friends so that you don’t have to spend money you don’t have to keep up with them. And when you have children, absolutely talk to them about money. Involve them in the family’s budgeting and help them to draw up a personal budget to make healthy decisions with their pocket money.
Kabelo: Protect your credit profile. A poor credit score means you won’t be able to purchase a house or a car…maybe not even a cell phone. Remember also that employers run credit checks before they hire you and a poor credit score can mean not getting the job.
Mary: You don’t have to pay full price. Shop at sales and don’t be afraid to ask for discount. This bargaining with sales people may feel embarrassing at first, but you don’t lose anything by asking.
Robert: Never put money ahead of people. Don’t neglect your loved ones to chase more overtime or a bigger salary. Always treat your colleagues with respect and see customers as people, not merely your commission cheque.
Brenda: Ignore the Joneses. Growing up, we had some friends who lived in big houses, drove luxury cars, went out to fancy dinners, shopped at expensive stores, and took exotic vacations. I remember being envious. However, now that I’m older, I realise the many people live lifestyles they can’t afford only to impress others. Set your own goals and make sure you are happy with your financial choices.
Fikile: Splurge sometimes. There are times when a higher price really does mean higher quality. The ability to tell the difference is a skill worth learning. If a more expensive product gives additional value or would last significantly longer than a cheaper alternative, it is worth the splurge.