As my children get older, I’m thinking more about the money lessons I’d like to teach them and with that, the money lessons I wish someone had taught me. I was chatting with Miss Frugal about some of the money mistakes that I’ve made in my life and that prompted me to write today’s post – a letter to my 16-year-old self.
Dear 16-year-old me,
I’d normally start a letter like this by asking how you are but seeing as you’re me then I already know. 😉
I know that you’re about to take your GCSEs and that you’re super nervous about them and even though I’m not going to tell you how you did, I will say that you don’t need to worry. Just stick to that study plan and you’re going to be all good (although I would recommend adding in an extra session on the death of Banquo in Macbeth – just in case that comes up and you’re not 100% on it)
I know that you’re nervous about college and have no idea what you want to do with your life but don’t stress it as it’s all going to turn out exactly as it should and by the time you’re my age, you’ll be in a job that you love and be happy with life in general.
What I do want to do today is give you a bit of a heads up on a couple of things that you are going to do over the next few years – I won’t call them mistakes but let’s just say that life would have been easier if you’d made a couple of different decisions…
1) You are going to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy a house for less than half of its market value. It’s going to be a struggle for you as it’s all very last minute and unexpected but do it anyway and when you get the chance, sell it and move on to a bigger better house investing all of your equity into the new house.
2) Avoid credit cards and store cards because they make it ridiculously easy to get into debt and when you do want to move house, you absolutely don’t want to have to use most of the equity in your first house to pay off the debt that you’ve accumulated on ridiculous things.
3) You’re going to hate one of the houses you buy (clue: don’t buy the house with the storage heaters) and it’s not going to help that you use the last of the equity you have to get an extension, new heating and new flooring throughout because you’re still going to hate it and you’re still going to end up selling it and ending up in the same position as a first time buyer with pretty much no equity in your house.
4) You’re going to go through some hard times, life wouldn’t be life if you didn’t but remember that everything happens for a reason and no matter how awful things seem, they’ll get better. Do what you need to do to get through the bad times but remember that the things you buy to cheer yourself up aren’t going to replace the people you’ve lost and you’ll probably still be paying for them when things are feeling brighter so bear that in mind before you press that buy button.
5) One day, you’re going to have that lightbulb moment where you realise things need to change and from that point on, you’ll start to make small changes that will make a big difference to your life and your finances. Embrace the changes and talk to your family about things sooner rather than later – the more support you have, the bigger the changes you can make.
Enjoy the ride!
What could you say to your 16-year-old self?
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