My parents aren’t exactly the brightest bunch when it comes to their finances. I certainly was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, and they did the best that they could to bring me and my brother up with whatever that they could afford while surviving from paycheck to paycheck. This includes being able to provide for my education up till my degree. I can’t express how much gratitude I have to them for allowing me to graduate debt-free.
With just a few more years left until the end of their housing loan of 30 years, both of them are far from retirement. I don’t believe that they have enough to retire from the figures that my mum provided me earlier this year. Unconsciously, they have placed me in a position where I have to carry a huge load of financial responsibility. Because now the tables have kinda turned. I don’t only have to plan for my own retirement, but theirs too. And I have to create an even bigger safety net for both parties.
It is hard for me to explain why this responsibility seems mandatory to me (and hopefully my brother, but I’m not betting on it). Maybe because I know that inevitably, they would have to rely on me somehow – be it physically or financially – in the future when they grow much older. And I am definitely not going to let chance decide what will happen to me and them.
Talk about return on investments. I think I’m their highest ROI over a 27 year period. :p
Amidst all these uncertainties, I am grateful for something that my mum did when we were very young. It was probably because of what she did that made me develop a very strong connection with money. She drilled this habit of saving into us, and let us understand the importance of money. This brings me back to a memory when my mum told me how me and my brother would spend as little as we can with our school allowance so that we can fill up the piggy banks as soon as we can. Back then, I was already exhibiting frugality with my spending habits, just that I wasn’t aware of it.
I realize now, that financial literacy truly starts from home, and what you experience as a kid. The environment that you are exposed to when you were younger is quintessential to the development of your mindset about money. Sure, you make financial mistakes from time to time. Who doesn’t? But the general concept about money should stay with you if taught properly.
What you have experienced at home may not necessarily be a happy one as well. There are many people who emerge stronger after experiencing something psychologically disturbing. Have you ever seen your parents receive a letter from the bank to say that their mortgage is overdue? Or was there a day when Daddy told you to cook some instant noodles because there wasn’t any money for food today? -shudders- It would be difficult for someone who has never experienced a similar scenario before to comprehend how important money would have seemed at that moment in time.
As for me, I would like to see all experiences as something positive, because ultimately, it is how it affected me in the process and what decisions I can make now to constantly improve my financial status. Because my parents have never invested before in their lives, I had to learn everything by myself – from buying my very first stock to creating my own portfolio of equities. From learning how to implement BTIR and buying insurance to reading and understanding annual reports. Google and YouTube are basically my saviours (Thank you, Internet!). And hey, if I were to be honest with myself, I think I’m doing pretty alright, just like many other investors out there.
I don’t have kids now, but to my future kids, I hope to be able to impart to them the same saving habits that my mum had cultivated in me. And with an added bonus, I’ll teach them about delayed gratification, compound interest and Grandpa Buffett (he is truly a role model in so many ways).
Just like how I hope I’ve inspired some of my readers with this blog too. Fingers crossed! ^_^
And like always, thanks for reading!
Miss Niao xoxo.