Money lessons to teach my younger self, and what I hope to pass onto my nephew

Cara Brett 3 August 2014

Financial planning

With age comes wisdom and we have to learn a lot of things ourselves, I know that. Sometimes to truly learn something you must go through the process and for some, that can mean enduring some pain along the way.

I am definitely an example of someone who has had to learn some things the hard way, and I think I am all the better for it.

I often wonder however if I had been taught certain things sooner rather than later whether I would be in a better position. Yes for some things, and no for others I suppose. There are however a few things that I wish I knew sooner, that I hope to pass onto my nephew and anyone else who hasn’t yet learned these things.

Quality over quantity – Geez I wish I learned this one earlier. Don’t rush with purchases, take your time, judge the quality. How long will it last? Is it versatile? This can relate to many purchases but one that is at the forefront of my mind is clothes. I think 10 pieces of quality versatile pieces of clothing are worth so much more than 50 cheap pieces that break after a few washes.

Read the contract – Being married to a lawyer has doubly confirmed this one for me. A contract is a contract and if you are planning on signing it, you better know what is in it. If you aren’t comfortable with it, or you don’t understand it, then don’t sign it.

Unfortunately I have personally been affected by a poorly written contract when it comes to employment, and you end up paying for it, both financially and emotionally. If you are buying a house – read the contract. If you are signing an employment contract – read the contract. If you are joining a gym – read the contract. Get what I am saying here?

There is no such thing as ‘I didn’t know’ when you haven’t read the contract.

Super is important as soon as you start working – That’s right, I was once one of those people with 3 super funds, and that’s because I didn’t really understand the value in my younger years. It’s my profession now, so of course I understand the importance of super, but for those who don’t, just trust me, it is important.

Engage someone who does know about it, or at the very minimum make sure you keep it all in one place. Check out the Superseeker website for a start.

Education is key – Education can be a degree, it can be online courses or it can just be reading books. I think it is important to continually learn and challenge yourself. Firstly it keeps things interesting, but it also makes you that much more employable.

When you start out in the employment world, you need to think about what skills, education and experience you have to offer an employer. Educating yourself whether formally or otherwise will always add to your value as a hirable employee.

I wish I had started Uni straight after school. I wish someone was there to tell me to get stuck into it straight away, and that yes I was smart enough to get a degree. Hey it all worked out for the best, but there were days when I was working full time and organising a wedding and the last thing I wanted to do was write an assignment on economics.

How much stuff you have is no indication of how successful you are – Stuff is nice, I like stuff, and things for that matter, but just because someone seems rich because they are rocking a nice car and the big fancy house, doesn’t mean they are. For some it means they are up to their eyeballs in debt, and that isn’t anything to be jealous of.

Be smart with your money, and don’t succumb to spending to keep up with the Joneses. Don’t be afraid to spend money, it’s what it is there for, but spend it on what is fundamentally important to you.

So will my little nephew (all of 5 months old) listen to me on those? Probably not 🙂 But maybe, just maybe I can get through 1 or 2 of those.

– This post is from our resident Financial Planner, Cara Brett. Check out her details in the about us page.

Posted in: Financial Planning and Cara Brett

About the author: Cara Brett

Cara Brett proudly heads up Bounce Financial - founded in 2014 after a successful, decade-long career in the financial services industry. Cara’s experience encompasses both the financial product and financial advice sides. This gives her a comprehensive and holistic knowledge of all facets of financial planning.