I just finished four days with two college friends. The three of us hadn’t been together in 40 years and it only took 5 minutes before we were right back where we left off. Our memories weren’t always the same; Susie remembered everything, I was a little foggy on details and Rosie was somewhere in the middle. Between the three of us we had a great time reliving all the highlights of our college years.
We began adulthood at the same small Wisconsin State University, but ended up geographically, professionally and financially diverse. And it became clear to me how money beliefs and values brought us to where we were today and that we had passed on some of these same beliefs and values to our children. I’d like to report that being the accountant in the group, I claimed the prize for being the most fiscally responsible. Not the case.
We never talked about money choices back then and my unexamined beliefs and values took me down a path with choices that brought me to where I am today. Had I known then what I know now, I might have ended up with a life less financially stressful and complex. I too could have ended up with a simple, uncomplicated money life: because darn it, that looks pretty good right now.
So what’s my message? It’s never too late to talk about money—not just what to do with it, but more importantly, why. Share what you know, and don’t know, with the next generation (if they’ll listen); not to judge them but to give them permission to investigate their own choices. Admit that sometimes, you too made choices you came to regret. Let them know that it’s never too late to change our money behaviors, attitudes and choices; a simple change now can make a real difference in the future. I know, I have 40 years of grown-up experiences.
Good friends, good times—does it get any better?