I grew up in small town in the middle of the US in the lower class pay range. We ate a lot of hot dogs, macaroni, and canned vegetables. What we wouldn’t eat one night, would likely turn up in a casserole later in the week. Often times after that we’d enjoy casserole casseroles. No kidding!
We had 6 kids in the family so hand me downs were commonplace; we’d have hand me downs from family members we’d never met but didn’t have a need for the clothes. Mom put them to good use. I think I got my frugality from there.
We would get weekly allowances for doing our chores around the house, but that allowance didn’t go very far. $0.50 was the allowance we’d get and this was in the late 80’s and early 90’s. So candy bars were still $0.50 a piece, so we had to use it wisely. Most of the time it’d go towards the penny candies as we could get 50 of them as opposed to the handful of M&M’s we could get for the same price. So we learned to save, use coupons, and shop for deals too.
As far as financial improvement advice, we were never really given any. It is hard to give advice when you don’t have any experience on the subject in the first place. My mom and dad were good with their money, to the best of my knowledge, because we always had a roof over our heads, but they never told anything to us except to save my money in a coffee can and be frugal with it.
My first job was a paper delivery boy. I had to get up at 4am everyday for 2 years to make $150 per month. That was big money for a 13 year old kid! Most of that money, as with anyones first money, was spent on candy and worthless things. It went pretty fast.
As I went through high school and college, I had odds and ends jobs that resulted in the same things I had spent my money on before, and as most kids, I didn’t care about retirement or learning personal finance.
It wasn’t until I got married that it actually sunk in. I realized I was bringing another life into the situation really soon and didn’t want to have to worry about being able to provide for my first child. That is really when I realized finance was something that I was going to HAVE to get interested in.
That was 5 years ago and I had just scratched the surface reading books and occasional websites on the subject, but mostly just saving my money and investing it in my 401k. My 401k was set to autopay into a target date fund 3% of my salary and that sounded fine to me at the time.
By the time 2005 rolled around I realized that the 401k wasn’t doing it for me and I had to get into something else, so I bumped up the 401k contributions a bit and opened up a ROTH. Now the wheels really started turning as to what my money COULD be some day if I keep on this path. I talked to an Edward Jones rep at the time that really opened my eyes to what it could be like (only later did I realize later that Edward Jones WASN’T my friend).
It got me very excited about personal finance and that is when I found the Personal Finance Blog realm. The PF blog realm just really hooked me in and I was addicted. I lurked around the Personal Finance Realm for months and months before I even started posting comments. I felt very intimidated that everyone out there knew more than me.
The more I kept up on the info, the more I learned. The more I learned, the more I commented. The more I commented, the more I realized I had too many questions to just keep asking everyone else their reasonings and goals for certain things. That’s about when I decided to kick it off on my own with MyInvestingBlog.com.
Investing isn’t for the elite; anyone can do it. Many financial advisors try to trick you into thinking it is far too complicated for anyone without extensive financial education to be able to operate. Unfortunately, 75% of people BELIEVE that! I can assure you, that is not true! I’ve never taken a finance course in my life and I can assure you that you can learn without giving your hard earned money to someone that scares you into investing (with them).
My main goal with this site was clearly motivated by my kids because when it comes down to it, I just want to be able to give better financial advice to my kids than I got when I was young. In so doing, I’m happy to help anyone out along the way with my experiences good or bad, but remember, I’m just a guy with a plan. I’m not a professional, so don’t take it to heart, but I can assure you I will give you the best of what I have found stumbling down the path to retirement. 🙂
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!