My mother was a good mom. She was a single parent, who struggled (successfully) to provide for her kids, in a field that was male dominated (she was one of just a few female truck drivers back in the day). She worked hard every day. She kept working, even when her job was unpleasant or sometimes even dangerous. She did what she had to provide for her family – and we were surviving. I learned many great lessons from watching my mom work: hard work, not quitting, finding a way to make things happened when it gets tough, learning to laugh in the hard times, how to find little ways to treat yourself when your down (like a Dicks Drive In hamburger, or a nice hot bath at the end of a long day). I learned to not take myself too seriously, and to not talk about others situations – you never know what they are going through behind closed doors.
There were so many good lessons. But, I never learned how to manage my money over the long term.
I stumbled my way into college.
And then through college.
Then into graduate school.
….and then the aftermath.
What was the aftermath I am referring to above. Big school loans, and a small paycheck to match that. Add to that my first baby shortly after college, and the loans seemed impossible to pay for. Forget about thinking about retirement plans or future care plans etc.
I don’t want my children to accumulate large debts, just as they are starting their lives independently, simply because they wanted a good education.
I found this article titled Women and Money: Why You Need To Take Control Now, and it was telling for me to see some of the pitfalls I fell (and continue to fall into). Things like focusing on stretching my dollars, rather then growing them too.
I plan to teach my children to use the Easy Budgets Calculator made available by Genworth Financial early on, so they will understand the impact of any loans they take out on their future life. I am hoping that seeing the numbers on paper, equipping them with more knowledge about the future impacts on their lives, and then helping them come up with a plan to manage the costs will make a difference for them – and prevent them from graduating with big debts.