Monday, September 9, 2013

Inspiration Mondays: A Letter For Your Locker

I'm a little late for this, but maybe it will resonate a little more as a result. 

Having had a previous life as a teacher, this time of year always does something to me. I usually have a dream where, try as I might, I just cannot get to school. I'm either supposed to be a student in the class or I'm supposed to be teaching it, it doesn't matter: obstacle after obstacle gets in my way. It's uncanny, but I suppose it's just my brain's tradition now to make me wake up with a gasp every September.

A couple of weekends ago, in the spirit of back-to-school, I came across this article in The Globe and Mail. It's one of those "advice to the younger generation" things, but this one really resonated with me, not because of the advice about kindness and not giving in to peer pressure, but for the solid financial advice:
Having money means that you can decide things for yourself and that you don’t have to rely on other people when you don’t want to. And becoming comfortable with money and how it works – earning it, spending it, saving it, managing it – is something that a lot of women (a lot of people, really) are needlessly afraid of and bad at, even when they’re cool with everything else in their lives. 
Since I moved away from home, I report every Sunday by phone to my parents. We chat about what's happening in our lives, who we've seen, what we're doing, the weather... everything, really. And my dad usually ends his portion of the conversation with the sage advice: "Save as much as you can. You can do anything if you are smart with your money."

I'm proud to say that it's that continual message, coupled with having married a man who has very similar financial values, that I am comfortable... that I can handle emergencies with a look to my funds, and that I have secured a home that I can be safe in, even if I land in unemployment due to unforeseen circumstances (and I can even treat myself to a skein or two of luxurious yarn in the meantime). It has taken a lot of abstinence, a lot of research and learning, my fair share of pitfalls and losses, and maybe I'm a little boring and a little preachy about it, but it is an accomplishment I am proud of. For me, money has always equalled hard-won freedom.

And it's something I want for everyone.

Today, I am inspired by the people out there who are clawing their way back from debt to solvency with hard work and education, and by people who are trying their best to educate their children about money and debt, and also by the people who are out there giving sound advice and information... not out to repossess or to rip anyone off, but who are truly trying to help. I think there are a lot of people who want this, not just for themselves, but for their children, and there has never been a time when the information has not been more readily available.

I don't know if this will change my annual "school panic dream" tradition, but I'm hoping that sharing this article might start some kind of tradition with others with children out there. Who knows?

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