Why you should learn to invest now
.....for your benefit, and the next generation (your kids, grandkids, god kids, nieces, nephews etc)
Last week I was trying to brush my four year old daughter’s hair but she wouldn’t let me touch it (she hates having her hair brushed). She told me, “You can’t touch my hair, it’s too expensive.”
The word “expensive” is something I’ve been trying to help her understand lately. Whether it’s pouring an entire bottle of milk into her breakfast bowl, running a hot shower for 45 minutes of water play, or wanting every toy she sees in a shop; I’ve had to explain that these things do not come for free. When she asks why she has to go to kindy, I explain that in order to live in our house, buy nice things, eat ice-cream and go to swimming lessons, I need to work and earn money to pay for them.
For me and my husband, every financial decision we make is based on what’s best for our children. At a surface level, deciding whether to buy that flat white or not is all about me, but zoomed out at the bigger picture - it’s all about my kids.
Which neighbourhood we bought our house in was critical to us because it would determine which school they would go to for the next 8+ years, who would influence them and therefore who they might become as humans. No pressure! So we maxed out our mortgage to get into our desired neighbourhood, and now have large monthly repayments. We are confident in the decision we made because it’s for our children’s future - but it does mean sacrificing overseas holidays and most other nice-to-haves in order to afford the essentials (sadly, Botox comes into the nice-to-have category *wrinkled cry face emoji*).
I also acknowledge the huge privilege of our situation for many reasons including that “The Bank of Mum & Dad” helped us buy our first home, as it does for some lucky others. As parents we want our children to grow up as independent, capable humans. Teaching them about the value of money is a great start. Continuing to build financial literacy in age appropriate ways is also important. But the reality is that one day my kids might also need to call on “The Bank of Mum & Dad” to help buy their first home. Will we be in a position to help?
I used to have no idea about money. I had never considered that I could be an investor. I didn’t know it could impact my financial future, and also that of my children. I didn’t know that you don’t have to be rich to start investing. I am now getting to know all these things, and that knowledge feels extremely powerful. I’m listening to every podcast and reading every book that I can about personal finance (except for the boring ones, obvs) and building my confidence to make educated financial decisions and start investing in the stock market.
I’m also in the process of setting up KiwiSaver accounts for my kids so that family can put money in there for their birthdays and at Christmas (by the time they’re 18 they could have more than $10,000 to put towards their first home!).
I’m learning to invest so that I can work towards financial freedom, and maybe even retire early. But it’s also so that I can share that knowledge with my kids when they’re old enough to start investing too. So when my four year old told me her hair was too “expensive” for me to brush, I actually felt really proud. She might have got the context slightly wrong, but in some capacity she had absorbed what I was starting to teach her about money - and I know that’s going to have a good return on investment in the future.