Last night my husband Thom and I watched a television show called Billions. It followed a few previous nail-biting episodes where the main characters, Axe, Chuck, and his wife Wendy, stood on what appeared to be an inescapable precipice of disaster. Then, through an unexpected twist, they all managed to escape jail time and return to their former wealth and status with little or no repercussion. While we’d all like that kind of break in our own lives, especially when it comes to our finances, we usually aren’t as lucky. Even more interesting, at least to me, was that after triumphantly returning to his billion-dollar hedge-fund business, Axe looks at Wendy, his financial performance counselor, and says something like, “I thought the high would last longer than it did.” Don’t we all? When it comes down to it, many of the messages we think we know about money don’t pan out. And while I’m certainly no expert, here are a few truths about money that I wish I had known when I was young.
A question that my husband Thom and I get every now and then is: “Are you guys independently wealthy or did your parents leave you a bunch of money?” The answer to both of them is “No!” As I’ve written before, both of us grew up in blue-collar households and we’ve been self-employed our entire lives. We’ve never once received financial assistance, unemployment benefits or won the lottery. Regardless of whether it sometimes look like we live the life of leisure, let me assure you, we’ve earned everything we have. It wasn’t always easy, and we made a bunch of mistakes early on, but fortunately, that’s changed. Along the way, we picked up some SMART and frugal practices that helped us hang on to much of the money we make. Now we use our money to do things we enjoy, and support people and projects we believe are worthy. I’m convinced we all have the potential to do the same. [Read more…]