“Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you.”― Charles Haddon Spurgeon, All of Grace
I don't know where I first heard this saying, but it is stuck in my mind and plays on repeat almost daily. Begin as you mean to go on.
Peanut is now at the ripe old age of sixteen. She has her driver's permit. She has a job, a checking account, and a debit card. Begin as you mean to go on.
I'm a pretty mean mom. I've instructed Peanut that she will put the first half of her paycheck into savings. Doing this will teach her to pay herself first and create a habit of saving money. I've also told her she needs to have 5k in her savings before she can move out. WHAT?! You may say, is that even feasible? Well, at the rate she's making money she can easily put $100 into her savings account each paycheck, biweekly. That would be about $2600 a year. She has two more years left in school so yeah, I think 5k is possible. As anyone who has ever moved, you know how expensive it can be. There are furnishings to buy, deposits to pay, and groceries to buy and rent to pay for the first time. Hopefully, when that day comes she'll already be in the habit of setting aside part of each check and will manage bills. Begin as you mean to go on.
With the other half of her paycheck, she has to pay her bills. Using 25% of her total paycheck, up to $200 a month she pays me back for the bills I pay on her behalf. She recently upgraded her phone, and though I pay for the line, she has to make the monthly installment. Her car, which is my old car, isn't quite paid for yet, so she helps to make that payment. I say she pays up to $200 a month but she doesn't earn that much money, that's just what her phone and car cost her parents each month. If by some crazy turn of events, she earns more than $800 a month she would get to keep that extra money. Perhaps this is incentive to work more? Begin as you mean to go on.
The final quarter of her paycheck is hers. All hers and she may do with it whatever teenagers do with money. Buy crap. Get her hair colored. Buy her mom coffee. Her little splurges. She's learning that that money goes fast. Begin as you mean to go on.
My parents didn't teach me about money, saving, or budgeting. I'm not blaming them for my money mistakes. I think it just didn't occur to them. As far as I know they didn't have a budget, and we were so poor I doubt they had much in the way of savings for many years. I did see my mom balance the checkbook, and she gave me the first lesson in reconciliation, but it ended there. For Peanut, though, I see these financial lessons as training wheels for life. I know there will come a time when she forgets to write a transaction down, and it will start a little domino effect. It has happened to us all. And of course, we're always here to help her pick up the pieces. Begin as you mean to go on.
And just to show you how mean I am, I've put a hold on this book at our local library and am going to insist she read a chapter a day this summer and then we'll discuss what she learns. Oh, the torture!
While I'm not sure everything in this book will be applicable, it will introduce her to a whole new world of money. She will learn what a 401(k) is, perhaps ways to avoid the credit card debt so many young people find themselves in, and how to set and achieve financial goals. Begin as you mean to go on.
And if all goes well, we'll do this again in 8 years when TheBoyWhoDidNotTalk(much) is in a similar situation. Begin as you mean to go on.