Although my parents both used to work in finance, they actually weren’t that big on financial advice. We had savings accounts as kids, but were not particularly encouraged to save money, and most of the time we didn’t have regular pocket money. Our grandparents lived a few hundred miles away so we didn’t see them regularly, but they used to save pennies for us – I’m never quite sure what used to happen to the money, but I do remember the excitement of counting it all out and splitting it equally amongst us. Amid all this vagueness, one occasion in particular is clear. I remember my mother telling me in the supermarket, that:
“credit cards are fine, as long as you always pay them off in full”
At the time, I didn’t recognise it as financial advice. But, you know, I have always paid my credit card in full (apart from those times that I’ve made a late payment – I’m not very organised), and it’s been a good habit and trait. And I don’t pay off my credit card in full because it’s sensible to do so (even though it is). I pay it off in full without thinking because that’s what you’re supposed to do.
I should probably re-examine some of the other messages that I follow unthinkingly though. Who knows what kind of stupid things I’m doing, just because someone told me as a kid.
- credit cards are like alcohol
- additional income: stoozing, or credit card arbitrage
- your flexible friend: share the detail of your credit cards