I made some big steps of progress toward improving my financial life yesterday.
I spent an hour on a call with my cell phone company which resulted in cutting my bill in half. I also canceled redundant home internet service (long, uninteresting story), which took another hour on the phone.
But the result of my time and effort is that I’m now paying $200 less in monthly charges.
Then I started looking into investing and I got pretty excited about that. I don’t know if there’s any point in starting to invest money before I have a bigger savings account and have my debts paid off.
But investing is something I never really understood before and was irrationally kind of scared of it, if I’m being totally honest. Now I’m starting to learn more about it and understand the basics a little better. Whether or not now is the right time to do it, it’s something that excites me and I’m looking forward to doing.
In a way, this seems like one of the secrets of how to be an adult that I never knew. To be honest, I don’t know if my parents have investments or not. On the one hand, my mom worked for a stockbroker for several years and even held licenses to do it, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. I’m sure my sister must have investments as well, simply because her husband makes a lot of money.
Yet money was never really talked about in my family while I was growing up and I think that it failed me in many ways. With my mom working for the stockbroker all throughout my teen years, I really should have been taught about investments then—especially because I worked anywhere from 30-60 hours a week while attending high school.
Nobody ever told me that it would be wise to do anything with that money I earned, so other than paying for my car insurance and gas, I just blew the rest of my money. I can only imagine now what I could have done with it instead that would have been more responsible. But I can actually trace a lot of my problematic shopping issues back to that time, when money had to go to bills and the rest was all frittered away on things that I wanted. No one ever suggested I could or should do things differently.
Somehow my kids have developed healthier attitudes toward money than I did. My younger two boys both got payouts from a lawsuit when my middle son was hit by a car. My middle son decided to invest most of what he gained. My youngest got a smaller amount but still has every penny of it in savings.
I can and do somewhat blame my parents for never teaching me about money; they always thought it was private and none of my business. But the time is long past due for me to stop blaming them and learn what they didn’t teach. Yesterday I got the first glimpse that I really am capable of getting this under control.