I Was an 8 Year Old Financial Planner
When I was a kid, my family didn’t have much money. We always got by and I never went hungry but we did live in a garage for 12 years. I’m not sure exactly when or why I became aware of our financial status but I did and I was worried about it. I knew I had to do my part in helping the family cut back on expenses. When all the kids were asking for Tamagotchi’s for Christmas I said, “Why would I want that when I’ve already got a cat and a dog?! Mom, save your money. That toy is stupid.” When everyone wanted a Furby I was legitimately afraid of them and made sure my parents knew that I did NOT want one.
Perhaps my most important move as our family’s financial planner was cutting down on our food expenses. Every time that we made a trip to the grocery store my financially irresponsible 4 year old brother, Joe, would ask for a chocolate bar. Sure it was only a dollar but those dollars add up! And if Joe got a chocolate bar, everyone had to get one. That’s $5 every week! That was just not a necessary expense. Whenever we stepped up to the cash register I saw Joe’s eyes light up. While he eyed the Kinder Eggs I would be in his ear scream whispering “Joe! Joe! No! Do NOT. Do not ask for a chocolate bar. DON’T.” Joe would go “Whyyyyy?” mesmerized by the chocolate. I’m pretty sure I actually put my hand over his mouth a few times to keep him from asking. But somehow, he always did. And he almost always got his way. Then my dad would basically force me to pick one out for myself so that we both had a treat.
During the car ride home I would begrudgingly eat my Kit Kat and glare at Joe’s chubby little chocolate smeared face. We would never get out of that garage if his reckless spending didn’t end.