Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Money money money

No I'm not a money-grabbing Essex girl looking to nab a sugar daddy. However right now I am kind of obsessed with money and all the issues it can cause.

It can cause arguments in families when children want to borrow or owe money, it can make some people feel inferior to others and it could mean couples are always on an uneven keel if one has more than the other.

I've always said money isn't everything, which indeed is very true. However, you do need a minimal amount to at least have the basics in life.

Don't get me wrong I would never put money above love, trust, laughter or health if we're talking overall life or relationships. Yet I am realistic that if you don't have money it does cause problems. 

Ever since I was young I've been quite in control with money. My parents have always been 'good' with cash and have drummed into me throughout my whole life how important it is to be careful with money.

My Dad used to work in finance and so he's my go-to person for all things financial. 

As soon as I could I started working to earn money. I can always remember first temping when I was at secondary school in the summer holidays and in fact my Mum coming to meet me on my lunchbreak with my GCSE results!
Every big school holiday I did temping work in an office, at college I took on Saturday/Christmas jobs in retail and throughout Uni I worked in the same supermarket chain both in Colchester where I was studying and then back at home when I was back visiting out of term time.

I knew once I graduated I needed a job and when my original plans changed I was more than aware my parents would be straight on the case if I dared think I could bum around for a bit. 

When young of course I got pocket money from my parents, grandparents and Auntie and Uncle. Yes I am an only child and had a reasonable upbringing so you could say I've lived a perhaps sheltered life and I've certainly been very fortunate having a Mum who could stay at home to bring me up and having fancy holidays all over the world since little.

When I became an undergraduate my parents were able to offer me my 'student loan' and so it's them I owed and hence paid back after completing my degree (and of course a few years of work!) 

So if you mention the word debt to me I freak out! I wouldn't say I'm tight with my money, but I do love a bargain. Owing friends or colleagues money makes me feel very uncomfortable. 

At Uni I went into my overdraft on an account twice (by a minimal amount granted), and I was in a right flap!

In jobs I've been shocked how colleagues live constantly in their overdraft or on their credit cards. 

My 'debt' is my mortgage on my flat. 

I have three cards - two credit and one debit and numerous store cards. They are always paid off by their due date.

Now this isn't an attempt for me to gloat at how amazingly I manage money. More an admission that I don't really get how most people run their lives and finance. 

When I get stuck I do lean on my Dad for a helping hand on where to put my savings and where is best for interest rates and so on. He is my very own IFA. 

Recently I have been asking lots of different people how they handle their money and their financial situation and I've been really shocked I'll be honest. So many people live on credit, are in debt or have had debt problems. 

So am I lucky to be good with my money? Or have I just lived a very sheltered life and developed naive and unrealistic attitudes? 

That, is the million dollar question!

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