Tuesday, August 15

Money Matters

The Misfit

Meet Carly*. She's a bubbly 19yo girl who loves her high school friends, her partying and her booze. She finds it hard to hold down a permanent boyfriend and is popular, pretty and outgoing. She holds down 3 casual jobs but finds it difficult to save money. Her bank balance often reads into several tens of dollars, for quickly as her her weekly income is deposited into her account, she's out buying booze and partying.

And there's Danielle*. The pretty 19yo girl is slightly more introverted, but absolutely loves Uni nights, partying and shopping. She works a fair number of hours a week, juggles 2 jobs and also finds it difficult to snag a nice man for herself. Her bank balance, however, suggests she's far-sighted and thinking about her future. At last read, her bank balance hovers in the region of 10 grand. That's absolutely amazing money for someone so tender.

It amazes me how teenagers treat money these days. It's hardly a commodity, but the way some kids look at it, it's rather shocking.

In one camp, money is exchanged as quickly as they're earned. Transactions flow freely, and these teenagers do not give one thought about saving for their future. Their future is now. And this includes going out every other day, on Uni nights, on Fridays and Saturdays, and shopping for clothes. And more clothes.

In another camp, sits the teens who're careful about their hard-earned money. Displaying maturity beyond their youthful years, they put a dollar from every $2 they earn from their holiday or weekend job into their savings. That's good money management and wise cash handling.

I have a couple of money management skills for you kids out there. It's not just about saving money; it's about putting where the money works best for you. I know it's hard, when you're a hormone-raged teen, fueled with alcohol and looking for a quick pash. It's even harder to put money aside; you barely get by on a weekly basis, let alone thinking of your future.

I've had the privilege of growing up knowing exactly what these teens are going through. I was an excitable teen who had no want for anything; partying, shopping and causing grief to my parents became routine for me. I lived life on the fast lane, and enjoyed getting away with things most people can't. Of course, i was brought down to earth in late 1999 when i got into the
wrong side of the law. I grew up real quick after that.

Save your money. Start now. It's never too late. It's never too big. Drop a dollar coin into a large plastic container every time you return home from work, from partying or from uni. Only stop to count how much you have when you can no longer shove a coin into the container. You'd be surprised how much you have saved.

Look out for saving plans that give you good returns. I know it sounds easier on paper, but the truth is, it's easier doing it. Let your money work for you while letting your money work hard. This means, put your money in areas where they can protect you (insurance policies come to mind), while maintaining a monthly contribution where the payoff is at least double (endowment policies come to mind). I bought myself a couple of endowment policies in late 2000 - a full year after my not too pleasant experience - and i can safely say that i've let my money work for me.

Also, dabble in stocks and shares. It's different from the
Australian Stock Exchange game we had to play around with last year. This is real money we're talking about. Nobody's telling you to buy 1 lot (1000 shares) worth of ABC stocks. A smart way to do it, is to treat this more like a game and less of a serious, life-and-death matter.

Team up with your mom or dad. Let them do the big buying, and chip in 10-50 stocks. I assure you, your appreciation of money and how the economy works will sky rocket. You're never too young to invest. My first investment was made at 21. Al-Qaeda timed my investment to the dot, as they chose to commandeer planes into the World Trade Center on September 11. I lost several hundred dollars, some pride and a better understanding of foreign politics.

Oh well, you lose some, you win some.

Check out eBay. For a token amount of money, you can set up your own family business in the comforts of your armchair. Sell anything. You'd be surprised at the stuff people buy these days. And the best part is, in the heat of a bidding war, they pay far more than what the product is initially worth. Either way, you stand to gain.

Look up the smaller banks. Bendigo and St George's Bank have some of the best Term Deposits in and around the Melbourne metropolitian area. Awesome interest rates for a tidy starting sum of $1000-$5000. If you've always wanted to make money while sitting on your ass, your nearest branch is just a hop, skip and a jump away.

Hope this advice helps. Just being an elder statesman here, watching over you kids :O

adrock2xander is now worth over $13,000. His endowment policies do not mature till 2020+, but he's not holding out for it either. In his free time, he plays with shares in Asia, sells cosmetics and video games on eBay, consolidate funds in his Term Deposit account and is generally a very cash poor person. Do not turn to him if you're hard up for cash.

*Names have been changed

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