Time and Financial Goals
Yesterday I celebrated my daughter’s 20th birthday, by reminiscing about the day she was born (she is out of town at school, so we won’t celebrate with her, but assume she celebrated with friends).
Twenty Years Ago
The decision to have kids was a hotly discussed topic between my wife and myself, since I was positive we could not afford to have kids at the time (as usual, my wife was correct, that we would simply adjust our lifestyle to fit the new costs in).
Twenty years ago, I had little or no thoughts of retirement, and saving, we hadn’t even bought our first house yet (another hotly discussed topic in the apartment we rented at the time).
My parents luckily thought about the future for us, and started buying our kids savings bonds for their post secondary education (or when they moved out of the house). This is something that I hope I can remember to do for my kids when they have kids, and that money has since moved into RESPs and such. This is something that all parents can pass on to their kids, teaching them the importance of saving for the future, because the future comes a lot faster than you think.
I didn’t really even have any RRSP’s set up in 1990, I did have some savings that we were putting away to buy our first house, but that was hard enough to build up. In hindsight I could have made a lot of shrewd investments, but I have also seen over twenty years that “sure things” in the world of investment are not as sure as they look (i.e. Nortel stock and such).
What Would I Change?
It’s easy to be trite in this situation and list out the obvious things that I should have done back then such as:
- Start an RRSP and invest in high tech early and get out early
- Don’t build up credit card debt
- etc., etc., etc.,
but this would imply some degree of regret or sadness about those twenty years, and I don’t wish to portray those years that way.
I have learned more from being a parent than I would have, had I got a PhD. I have had more happiness and joy in those twenty years than I deserve (or merit), but I am unapologetic too.
Yes there are times where I look back and think, “I should have….”, when it comes to some money decisions and some other decisions in my life, but in some ways I learned more from my mistakes than from my (minor) successes in the financial world.
Am I saying, “Don’t worry, be happy!” (to paraphrase Bobby McFerrin) about your money? No! I am saying you should be careful and take the obvious steps to be safe with your money and to avoid debt every which way you can, however, if you think you have done all you can, and you are comfortable, then you should enjoy your life, is all I am saying.
Tempus fugit, and twenty years will fly by in a heartbeat, so make sure you are enjoying it.