26 Sep

What Our Experiences Teach Us about Finance

What Our Experiences Teach Us about Finance

Last Saturday night I attended a wonderful party that our friend organised to celebrate the end of an era. He was selling his property and this was to be his “last goodbye” party.

In this iconic Sydney location we have gathered for over two decades to celebrate, dance, connect and have great conversations with our friends. It is interesting how over the years our conversation topics have changed from carefree, “just living for the moment” tones, to the more serious conversations we have now about business, school fees, investments and illnesses that come with getting older.

Except this Saturday… as if time went back. As I climbed down the steep hill that leads to my friend’s property, to my surprise I was greeted with a picture of over 100 colourfully dressed Gen Y kids, the new generation of gatherers. It was one amazing night full of art and great music. What was really interesting was that the conversations I had with them were replicas of what we were talking about when we were their age. Living for the moment, spirituality, nature and just experiencing life and creative freedom.

So why am I reflecting on this? Well the timing could not be better as we are just about to conclude the Forming Circles funded Inspire Money Sense Survey. The purpose of this survey was to gather and analyse information about the spending habits of Gen Y with the aim to help combat youth financial exclusion. These young people would be perfect candidates but, as we were just having a social and celebrative time, our attitudes to money was not a suitable topic of conversation.

So at what stage in our life do we consider the conversation about financial security and financial freedom to be at the forefront of our thinking? When do we attempt to put away the bad habits of our younger days as we realise the ramifications to our credit rating as we are trying to get our first serious house or business loan?

I certainly have an experience or two to share, which makes me a strong advocate for financial literacy and a supporter of the Inspire Money Sense Survey. I came to Australian at age 19 with only $20 so I understand poverty.  It took me over 10 years to pay off my $1000 credit card debt I’d accumulated at age 20. At age 31, I was still refused an increase to my credit limit, even though my new husband’s credit card limit was $15K.  I am sure there could be many reasons for this and I would not be surprised if it was because of a bad credit rating due to an unpaid bill from years before.

My “grown up” advice is to visit this “taboo” subject of money earlier as a family. Begin discussions with your children from an early age to make sure that they treat money responsibly and with respect. Help them to understand its value and perhaps they will avoid the mistakes we ourselves made and create a better and healthier financial future for themselves.

What are your thoughts & experiences? Please leave a comment to share

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