Budgeting, Your Money and More Advice from a Baby Boomer

Talking about money with anyone in Western society, let alone your family, is much like talking politics and religion. You don’t. The taboo that surrounds talking about money, not to exclude the latter two, in your family is always a hot topic.

I find this unfortunate because there is so much that is assumed to be known or understood, and so much that we could learn from each other. So I thought I’d break the common rule and tackle the topic with my own grandma to see what her advice would be for anyone on their own financial journey, from the perspective of the baby boomer generation.

To preface, this is not a common conversation my grandmother and I have, in fact, I can’t think of a single instance where we’ve talked shop about investments, loans or savings accounts outside of her general advice that she’s always voiced amidst swiping her credit card, saying more out of habit then directed to anyone, “Always pay these off at the end of the month, always.”

While the conversation was short and sweet, I think she captured the essence and top tips for handling finances at any stage in life.

Ashleigh: Do you have any suggestions for people that are looking to get their finances in order, or just taking a look at their finances now? I think it would be great to hear how it may differ from what people hear, or don’t hear now.

Grandma: (She’s a straight shooter) Know what you have each month and then subtract your bills. Figure out how much, if anything is left over. If nothing is left start reducing your bills as much as you can. Whenever you do have extra monies save for a rainy day, and trust me, it will rain. 

Make sure you allow for health insurance, you never know about health. No matter what else allow something special once a week to reward yourself. Make sure you eat healthy. Fixing your meals for lunch saves money plus controls those sneaky fast food calories. Carpool whenever possible and search for coupons. Use your phone to compare prices, you’re an expert on this one.

A: What are your suggestions in regard to preferred account types or investing?

G: Never invest in a variable account. Investing and knowing how much you are going to get insures the income.  I know too many people that lost their butt on the high-interest accounts.
Choose carefully when you decide on a person to make decisions for you. Make sure you can do without the money in case of emergencies.  Limit your time in case interest rates change.

After our conversation, there is no denying that the core of reaching any financial goals is spending less than you earn.

While I’m not sure everyone would agree when it comes to investing, I mean the best investors are those that have forgotten they did so or deceased, right? The underlying principle remains the same, to have your affairs in order before you jump in, such as having those emergency funds set aside for that inevitable rainy day.

What is the best or worst advice you’ve ever received about when it comes to handling your finances?

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