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Some of the best lessons are mistakes

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07 May 2019

Angela Bradley

“I have my Mum to thank for teaching me the right principles and for being open enough to share her mistakes with me…so I don’t repeat history,” says Angela Bradley (above right), speaking to Ruby about what we learn from our mums about money.

Angela’s mum’s story traces a financial confidence journey that was not always easy:

“My mum had a tough childhood and worked for her dad in his bakery from the age of around 10. As far as counting cash, basic maths, and handling money went, Mum was all over it. But because she didn’t finish school she didn’t understand more complex concepts like interest rates or how credit cards worked. She was stung on many occasions signing up to incredibly disadvantageous interest rates, and for paying the minimum off her credit card, taking years to pay back what began as a relatively small debt.

“By the time I was 12, I was earning my own money through household chores, a local paper round and helping the neighbours with their gardening or shopping. Mum was keen to make sure that I didn’t repeat her mistakes and she did a few things to help me.

“She taught me the value of money. There was a big chart in our house, and on it were all the possible chores:  washing up = £0.50p; washing the car = £2.00; vacuuming the whole house £1.50; etc. 

“The more I did, the more I earned.

“She also took me to the bank to open up my own savings account. I sat with the bank manager and he explained how my new cash card would work and how I could earn ‘free money’ (interest) by keeping my money in the account longer. I was addicted to saving and checking that my balance was going up. 

“She taught me to value experiences and not material items. This was a key difference between my friends and me. They’d drop $1000s on a fashion item that they would use once. I’d put $1000 in my savings account instead.

“She encouraged me to have a goal. My first goal was that I wanted a horse. Our yard was NOT big enough for a horse, but Mum let me plan out the ‘business case’ for it and work out the costs. I had something worth saving for. I realised two years later when I had actually saved up enough that a horse was a daft idea. I swapped my goal to a dog. My parents were VERY pleased about this.

“She encouraged me to learn about and understand financial concepts. She actually made me go to the library and ‘summarise’ my findings to her. I realised later she was getting me to teach her. I also realise in hindsight that everything I learned about money was from Mum and the library. We were never taught about credit and wealth generation in school.

“She shared her mistakes. It was very embarrassing for my mum to admit that she didn’t understand the small print. Most people hide their errors. She laid hers out on the table. I also have memories of us going hungry using every penny of her wages to pay back a loan, and her having to cash in the bonds my grandparents left us kids, so she could keep the bailiffs from the door.

“I manage my money well enough to do more than just survive and that’s due to what my mum taught me. I am now building wealth with a portfolio of cash, property and shares, as well as helping my sister, my friends and my colleagues to do the same.

“Paying it forward.”

Ruby can support you to build your financial confidence with these resources and tools.

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