So, I know (I know!!!!) that I’m not at all at a point in my life where I am really capable of having children. However, that doesn’t kill my baby-fever. They’re all over my Facebook timeline, and I know they’re a lot of work, but they mostly just look like little squishy love-balloons, so it is easy to get distracted from all the hard stuff (like having the time and money to raise a tiny human, for example) and focus on the squishy-cuteness.
I’m snapped back into reality when I think about all the stuff I’ve had to do in my own life to get from baby to legal adult. Moreover, I think about the stuff that my poor, poor parents had to do to help mold me into something more than a squishy love-balloon.
All of my success can be traced back to a lesson or piece of advice one of my parents gave me. I’m lucky to have had the role models I’ve had for the past 22 years. The amount of wisdom they’ve given me (financially and otherwise) is immeasurable, and I’m full to the brim with gratitude for that fact.
Should I ever someday have children of my own, I wonder what advice I will give them. I wonder, often, what little pieces of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way (from both my parents and other people in my life), that stands out to me above the rest. What little bits and nuggets of knowledge would I find essential enough to pass on to them to help ensure their own success and happiness?
I know a lot of people who can think of this immediately when asked. In fact, I know a lot of people who live by little quotes and aphorisms that have helped them achieve great success in life, both personally and professionally.
For some reason, when I go into my own head and try to think of the money wisdom I’d pass down to my sweet, sweet spawn, I’m at a loss.
However, some lovely people I spoke to (who are much more eloquent than I) were able to answer the question without a second thought. I asked a bunch of millennials in their pre-and-recently-post-baby lives what important piece of money-related advice they’d most want to pass to their future children. This is what they had to say:
1. “When it comes to retirement, start as young as possible. In fact, I’ll start for you. I didn’t learn this the hard way; I’m lucky. My parents helped me start putting away in a retirement fund when I was hardly 18. It is working out so much for me now that I’m in the working world, but feel like my retirement savings has already begun to grow to something that will someday be comfortable for me” – Kaitlyn
2. “Try to have fun and not track everything, because there is a point where being financially savvy turns into being miserable and obsessive.” – Ashlee
3. “I just had a baby a few weeks ago, but I’m young — I want to tell her to wait until she feels financially ready for children. I couldn’t be happier to have her, but I know this was kind of an inopportune time for me to have a child. She’s three and a half weeks old and I already feel the financial strain.” – Kellie
4. “When you get your first credit cards, keep the limits small until you feel responsible enough to handle that power.”– Johnathan
5. “When living life, find more joy in having a stacked bank account than having the newest trend.” – Margaret
6. “Don’t lend your shitty college boyfriend money – he’ll probably not pay you back.” – Jill
7. “I will not be buying from your school’s shitty fundraising catalog, so buckle up.” – Maggie
8. “I would tell my child to get a job as soon as they can. In fact, I’ll hopefully be able to teach them how to earn money from a young age through some sort of allowance situation, but I’m not sure yet. I’d want them to know how important it is to work for your money and really earn it. I didn’t get a job right away – in fact, I didn’t have one until I graduated college. It was a terrible wake-up call when I got my first job and had to figure out how to handle my own money, what the true value of it was, what the true value of my time was. I have friends who have had insanely strong work ethics since 16 or 17, and have been putting money of their own away since then, too. I want my children to know that responsibility and work for their savings. If I can afford to, of course I’ll be there for them financially, but I want them to really understand how to do it on their own.” – Daniel
9. “We just live in a different world than the one you’ll hear about from older people in your life. Your grandparents, people like that. They’ll tell you that you can have the big house and the nice stuff if you just work hard, but it isn’t true. They’ll tell you that you can have whatever you want if you want it badly enough, but it just isn’t true now – not in this economy. You’ll have to work, you’ll have to do some soul-searching and job searching, and possibly some settling. You’ll be happy, or happy enough at least, if you don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find perfection by age 25. You might not be obsessed by your job, but you’ll probably be satisfied and fulfilled, and you’ll have enough to get by if you accept that you might not be able to become a homeowner by 23. It just isn’t quite like that these days.” – Mike
10. “Don’t charge shit on your credit card if you don’t have the money to pay it off, or aren’t positive you’ll come into that money within the next couple of weeks. Try so hard not to carry a balance. I’d rather lend you money and have you pay it back to me with no interest or fees.” – Rebecca
11. “When everyone starts getting allowance and birthday money and what have you, be the one who tucks it away and buys the really cool thing in a year, instead of blowing it all right away on Pokémon cards. Maybe not a relevant reference, but this was my issue at age 8.” – Matthew
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