Daily Finances


I have come about my personal finance education the hard way. I honestly think that personal finance should be a part of every high school student's mandatory education. Actually I have worked since I was 16 during the summers, and I thought I knew plenty about money, until later when I realized that I knew practically nothing.


I always had a goal that I would marry, buy a house, a couple of cars and be able to raise a family without much effort. My parents did it all, but they never told me about all the struggles and sacrifices they had made to make it look so effortless.

Now that we are close to retiring, our ability to retire comfortably has been influenced by many factors:

Numerous moves from area to area

We have made 20 plus moves since we were married, some times from country to country.

Each time you move, there are relocation costs which must be paid. Also, you have to decide what to sell, what to keep, and then it costs quite a bit for storage facilities as well as shipping fees. Each time we moved, we had to give up some valuable things like furniture, dishes, vehicles, etc. It seemed we started over several times outfitting our home with the essentials.

Moving the family costs you time and money.

Health Issues

One of our moves was from a South Pacific Island back to the mainland USA. This was mainly due to health concerns. I was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis. It was decided that it would be best monitored in the United States. In the little countries we lived in they had social medicine which was very inexpensive, but you were not assured a good doctor or good medicine. As you are aware, good medical care in the United States is not cheap. Testing and treatments can run you into the hundreds and thousands per month, especially if you do not have adequate medical insurance, which is also very expensive.

You can never predict what health issues may arise for you or your family members.

Education

When we first got married, my husband had his bachelor's degree. I, on the other hand, only had a high school diploma, but had experience working in a few different areas. I finally got my degree 30 years later, after all of my own children had graduated from college. Luckily, my husband finished his master's degree and that qualified him for teaching in a University. This gave me the opportunity to go to school free. Also, our children were able to have half off on their tuition, which has been a great blessing.

Get as much education as possible so you are more qualified for the higher paying jobs.

Salary

Even though my husband had an advanced degree, we took a teaching job in a third-world country. He wanted to help his people and share what he had learned.

I remember that we made about $300 per month in Tonga, and that was considered a good wage. We could actually pay our rent, have money for food and a little extra.

I would not trade our fabulous experiences there for anything, and feel that the experience itself was worth millions. But,I know it set us back financially when we finally did move back to the states. I know that there are certain places you can go in the world that pay wages that can set you up for the future. I have friends that live in Dubai, and they have done very well there. Maybe in my next life!

Emergencies

We did not actively save a particular amount of money each month until we had been married for several years. It is easy to look back and say that we should of or could have saved, but it seems that there were always little emergencies that came up which took what money we might have saved.

I remember two particular Christmases that we had in third-world countries. The first one was right after our second child was born. My husband's parents had been called on an LDS mission to serve in New Zealand for two years. His youngest sister was left behind to live with us while she finished high school.

My husband's sister got very homesick for her parents, and she begged us to take her to see them in New Zealand. We spent all our savings to purchase tickets for my husband and I, two tiny children and one teenager to go to New Zealand from Tonga. We actually only had enough money for one-way tickets, so my husband had to find a job once we got there to earn our trip home again (I know it sounds crazy, but we were very young and oblivious). We lived with my husband's aunt in Auckland, and he worked in a restaurant washing pots and pans in order to pay our way back to Tonga. It was a great experience, but financially draining.

The other Christmas, we had just moved to Samoa where my husband taught for the Department of Education. My husband's brother came to live with us for a while, and then he asked my husband to pay his airfare to Hawaii so he could get a job. It took all of the money we had saved up until then to purchase his ticket. That Christmas we did not have any funds to purchase gifts for our three children (we had added one more by then). I remember that our neighbors generously brought some gifts and food so we could enjoy the holiday. It was very difficult and humbling for me.

My husband is very generous, and his culture is such that if someone needs the money, you give it. It seemed impractical to me, but I understood that he had been helped to get to America and receive his education by others, and so he felt obligated to give back.

Investments

I never realized the importance of investing some money towards your retirement financial health until it was almost too late. Now we are in a situation where my husband cannot retire at the usual age. We would be unable to live from day to day unless he works longer.

I remember trying out my luck in the stock market just about the time when the bubble burst in the 90s. I would get up very early in the morning, since we live in Hawaii, and New York was hours ahead of us. I picked a few stocks that looked ready to fly, and put my money on them. Luckily I did not lose too much, and the education I gained was well worth it. I found out it was very similar to gambling in Las Vegas. Better to let the experts control where the money goes.

Worrying about money can either motivate or immobilize you. I have felt both. Anxiety about money is the one issue that has come between my husband and I during our marriage. We have had totally different ideas about finances, and have had to leave it out of most of our discussions. I know that this is not very healthy, but it has worked for us. Fortunately, most of our children have done well financially, so if all else fails, we can go and live with them (they have all invited me).

I hope you have learned something from my financial experiences that will help you in your future.

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Comments 28 comments

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks LittlePayday - so glad you enjoyed it.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks for your addition Metlife variable annuity.


Metlife variable annuity 5 years ago

Another thing I've really noticed is that often for many people, a bad credit score is the reaction of circumstances beyond their control. Such as they may have already been saddled with an illness and because of this they have high bills going to collections. It could be due to a job loss or maybe the inability to work. Sometimes divorce or separation can really send the budget in the wrong direction. Thanks for sharing your thinking on this weblog.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks mwatkins for your positive remarks. I know it could have been much worse - we have never been without a job even though we had to move all over, and many people are not that fortunate. Money matters can either make the marriage stronger or break it up. We have had a few "discussions" that were intense. I appreciate your comments.


mwatkins profile image

mwatkins 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

you covered excellent points and brought up so many good topics, but the one I like the most is about teaching kids about money and finance - Money gives people choices, it doesn't buy happiness. Your shared experiences are humbling. We had a rough year last year ourselves with both of us changing and adding to our careers, moving 6 hours away from family by car and and getting married, but things all work out. They always do. We should have killed each other, but it made us stronger and more able to move forward with an understanding and knowledge tat we never would have had otherwise. Thank you for sharing! Well done!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Glad you enjoyed it fucsia. Thanks for commenting. We are saving as much as we can now - but seems things still come up that need our money - oh well.


fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing your several experiences, Your life is surely not boring! I had always spent as much I earned, but I recently understand that in this way I can not reach the tranquility: I do not care become rich, but I want not to have concerns! Therefore I started saving with the aim to invest my money.... Your Hub so for me it is very interesting!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

I am realizing I need much less than when we had our children with us. I still worry about the children and grandchildren and how they will make it too. I guess I just need to stop the worrying and turn it into productive time. Thanks for your encouraging words.


Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Elayne, you are correct, facing retirement is downright scary in today's economy! Hope you find the balance that works for you and remember..life does get simpler... meaning we need less stuff! There is a big savings right there!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

So true Scribenet. I have learned so much from my experiences and wouldn't trade them for all the money in the world. However, that said, retirement is staring us in the face. It kind of scares us with the way things are now. I am sure we will do just fine. I am quite a worrier. Thanks for your positive vibes.


Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

elayne, this is a great Hub for young people to read. It shows how life is and the unanticipated events that can deplete finances and create havoc. We should,at least, be informed!

That said, you have enjoyed a wonderful life with rich experiences (wealth... of a different kind)!

I married young, close to my own culture, but to a man who never saved...I did not know his "financial style" beforehand (I am a saver)...I should have known better!

Yet, we had great fun and laughter, amid the tears and frustration; a long marriage and even shared a business together for ten years! I grew so much from those experiences! :)

After his passing, I have spent almost nine years regrouping and rethinking what is important and I agree with diogenes to have those experiences while young...

Now I am much more practical and my choices, more informed...yet, I consider the past successful! Oh yes; one cannot change the "financial style" of a partner later, as I am certain, you have "also" discovered...lol :)

Thanks for sharing an important fact of life!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thank you Wishing_Well. I do feel blessed and have many great memories of our moves and travels.


Wishing_Well profile image

Wishing_Well 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Very practical advice. The life you've lived sounds amazing. There are not many people who get to travel around and live in different countries. To me, enjoying a full life is worth a lot more than money. I wish you well in your future retirement.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Glad you agree me with pmccray. So many kids these days feel a sense of entitlement. What happened to working for what you get. I think it does start in the family, but peers have a lot of influence our youth. Appreciate your thoughts.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

I too agree that we should be taught about personal finance while still in school. We are taught how to want and spend, but not how to save and invest. Each generation has gotten worse, its all about spend, spend, never even considering the consequences.

Again excellent hub, voted up, marked useful and shared.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Yes, life can throw you some great curve balls. We all have a few. Thanks for commenting Hello, hello, - hope things turn around for your soon.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for letting me look into your life. I am stuck in a hole at the moment and it does good to read about other people's experiences and overcoming it. Life certainly has its ups and downs. Wishing you well and a Happy New Year


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks Simone Smith - experience has taught me well. I only hope it will inspire others to do better financially. Of course, it is good to remember that rich experiences are priceless.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Wow -personal finance guide as personal biography! I love the way you have shared your advice from the viewpoint of your own life. Great Hub!


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

I have definitely had a rich life - just have no money! But still surviving. Thanks for your comments travelespresso.

@Thank you Jake. Glad that you liked it.


Jake 5 years ago

I loved this post! It's always good to hear stories like this from parents. It's empowering.


travelespresso profile image

travelespresso 5 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

What a lovely heartfelt hub elayne. I think that we can all too often get caught up in the pursuit of money and forget about living life. You have certainly lived a rich life.

Health and the attendant costs in some countries is a real problem. I hope that you are well now.

Thanks for sharing. I love this hub.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks barryrutherford. Glad you enjoyed it. I agree with you that life is not for the acquisition of wealth, but in some societies it is expected that you have at least a home and other things to show after a while. My dream home was merely that - a dream.

@diogenes - Yes, when you are young - nothing seems impossible. I probably would not take the leap now that I know much more. I do wish I could leave my children more and especially my grandchildren. That is why I am still working, and will continue to - to spoil my grandchildren while I am still able to. Thanks for the reassurance.

@Pamela 99 - Yes, my father really did spoil my mother with beautiful homes that he actually built himself - brick by brick. He always filled my cars with gas and did the maintenance on them, so I didn't learn to do those things for myself 'til much later. I am truly grateful to be able to enjoy my grandchildren. We live in a small townhouse now and have two of our children, their partners and five grandchildren for the holidays, so it is pretty crowded, but happy. Thanks for your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

I think we grew up during a time parents didn't think they should talk to their children about the families finances. I babysat for money until I was old enough to work in a department store. We weren't poor, middle class I guess, but I bought a lot of my clothes. That did teach me to be careful with money but not how to invest it for the long term future and I also had health problems that caused me to retire very early from a good paying job. I agree that you are rich in experience and I always enjoy your great sense of humor. We may not be rich in money but we have so much to be grateful for, especially grand children. Great hub, rated up.


diogenes 5 years ago

Yes. You have shown that the solidarity of your relationship has carried you through all your adventures successfully. In my opinion, the time to have spent your money and travelled, etc., was when you where young, which is what you did. If now you don't have a lot of money to give your kids that is probably a good thing, they need to make their own way and help you. I imagine you both have some kind of pension - if not, the senior citizen pension, which you will be able to exist on if needs be. I think you have done all the right things in life, as far as that is possible. Your vast wealth of experiences will now carry you through an older age which can be boring - and most frustrating for those who have become old without having lived as you all have. Don't worry! You're doing OK!!! Now new adventures with the grandkids ... Bob


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia

Very interesting read. Thank you for sharing your life story on your relationship with life & money which we all have. You can forgive yourself for the fact that you will be not be alone. this bind of wanting cake & eating it at thesame time. For life is for living & not being chained to the aquisition of wealth...


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains Author

Thanks so much thougtforce. I truly hope it does help others. Experience is the best teacher, but it can be difficult at best.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

Maybe you and your family isn´t rich in money but you are certainly rich in experiences. And you have been kind and compassionate to others when necessary! That is also worth a lot! But as you write it does not pay the daily costs! I think you have helpt many by writing this! It is well written and is a problem shared by many!Voted up!

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