When $25 for board was daylight robbery

Have the conversation.

parents putting money in piggy bank for kids future

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Women talk. But are we talking about the right things? Growing up in the 80s (I'm showing my age) my family didn't talk about finance, budgets or mortgages – I wish we had. 

I finished school with no responsibilities. I had no outgoings except for the $25 a week my parents asked me to pay as "board" (I remember thinking at the time it was daylight robbery!).

I remember my first "big" paycheque – I spent it all on one outfit and told mum and dad I would pay them the following week. I was young (but old enough to know better). As I said, I had no responsibilities… no debt, but no savings. That pattern continued for quite some time. And then I moved out of home and across the country with a one-way ticket. I had to find a job, a place to live and work out how I was going to survive. And although the safety net was gone it was the best thing that happened to me.

I maxed out a credit card… and had to work two jobs to pay it off.

Then I did it again!

And then… I got rid of it.

I started trying to put away the extra money I had been using to pay the debt. I didn't want to get into a situation where something would happen, and I didn't have the funds to deal with it because I knew that I would look for a credit card…again.

I was reminded of all this earlier today when I met a friend for our morning run. Neither of us had much energy and we ended up walking (and talking). We were talking about how our boys were both living week to week and have so little care for tomorrow. It's a point of frustration in my house, especially because I've been there…

I don't have all the answers – I really wish I did. But we have the conversations – we talk about debt, we talk about saving, we talk about a lot of things really…

But here's something they (and you!) can do, today – and it's quite simple really.

They need to start thinking about putting aside some funds for a rainy day (the car will break down; the washing machine will stop working – both of which happened to me in the past three years – and don't get me started on the dental bill from when the then-13 year old's front teeth collided with a snooker ball).

As we all know, sometimes life can take an unexpected path… and I hope they are prepared for if (when) that happens.

Of course, 18 year old me probably wouldn't have listened if my parents tried to warn me of the dangers of credit cards. Which is why I have those conversations with my boys. They will make their mistakes but I hope they can learn from mine…

As for saving for a rainy day, I wish I'd started early, but I started.  And, I'm glad I did because it was the first step in my journey to financial freedom… believe me, I'm not there… not even close if I'm being honest, but I'm on the way.

That journey to financial freedom is a life-long one (I can't stress this enough!) and it would be impossible to give you all the tools in one email because there is a lot to learn.

But I'm hopeful that, over time, I can help. 

Fool on!

Motley Fool contributor Erin Bouwmeester has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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