Turn back the clock, what would you have taught your younger self about financial management?
If there had been one thing we wished we were taught when we were younger - many of us would agree it would be money management.
School teaches us many things - knowledge, skills, morals that are important when we reach our adult years. But one thing that school doesn't teach - which is so important - is managing our finance. Even schools in Singapore are realising the importance now - with MoE implementing financial literacy curricular in schools. (Read more in our blog post here)
Money has not been a common topic among families. It is usually deemed as "sensitive" to talk about money, and parents in our times don't know how to educate us about money management habits.
But experience is the best teacher you can have. Our adult selves have experienced the success and failures of our personal finance management. If we were able to turn back the clock, “What is one piece of financial advice that you would give your younger self?”
We collected some advice that we wished we could have acted on earlier. Here are five simple advice:
1. Start saving money!
In our younger days, we tend not to understand the concept of savings and delayed gratification. Some of us may have tried saving occasionally, but we tend to use these savings up quickly as well. A piece of important advice - look far and try not to "break your piggy bank". Spend within your means and save a little for rainy days!
It can be hard to start saving savings, but the most challenging part is the first step. Make your first steps easier with this guide on savings. The earlier you spend, the more you can get.
"The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket."
-Frank Hubbard, Inventor of keyboard instruments
2. Spend wisely (and smartly!)
An $80 selfie stick sold in a gadget store costs only $10 online! Be smart in your spending - some items are sold for higher prices at high-end stores compared to buying it online. As a child, we might be less familiar with the general costs of goods and services and make costly spending mistakes. Do your research when you make online purchases to make sure what you are buying is authentic.
An important foundation is to know your products' worth. This can be in taking more walks about your supermarket to sieve the general pricing or using digital platforms. One mobile application in Singapore, PriceKaki, is a supermarket price comparison tool that helps you identify where to get the most worth products. There are many more tips on how to save more money, here are some more!
“My money advice to my younger self would be to spend less money on material things (unless it sparks joy, don't buy it) and to save and invest more. You can have it all, but you don't need it all, is my realisation. The good thing is that I was diligent in putting aside spare cash, but I definitely could have done more and also put that cash to work by investing it. Money doesn't grow by just sitting in your bank account." - Lu Li, Founder, Blooming Founders
3. Material things are not everything
The latest gadget, the most trendy shoes, the popular restaurant - there is a never-ending list of what teenagers want to buy. When we are young, we might not understand the value of money and make impulse purchases. We tend to spend a lot on material wants, and thinking back about it, do we need all these? We are talking about spending an additional $50 for a logo on the same functional product.
Focus more on the intangibles that bring joy - experiences, family, friends. Not everything in life has a price tag to it!
“Life isn’t about money.” - Evan Spiegel, Snapchat founder
4. Learn about investing and start investing!
We all know money doesn't grow on trees. But money grows - from interest accumulated from investments. Investment is a challenging topic to grasp, even among adults. As adults, we have learnt about different ways we can invest. If only we could teach our younger self to support when we were young, how much more interest we would have earned!
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” - Will Smith, American actor & rapper
5. Don’t spend money (just) to keep up with your friends (unhappily)
When we are young, our friends have the most significant influence on us. Teenagers might like to show off what they bought recently, and peer pressure causes us also to buy the same thing to show that we are "IN" the trend. If you have different spending values, stand on your ground. Be the bigger person, let them go ahead with their plans, and you are also allowed to spend however you like.
They aren't really your friends if you have to spend money to be around them. Spend on things you like without feeling pressured. You will realise that these aren't important down the road, speaking from experience.
There are things we regret not knowing when we were younger. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can start educating our youths and more personally, our children today. Taby, a pocket-money app and card designed for parents and teens, allows parents to help their teenage children gain better money management skills! Interested? Register your interest for Taby today by joining our free waitlist (below) for your teenage child to have good money management habits that last a lifetime.