By Jillian A. Bogater
When I was in elementary school, I had saved up enough money from steady baby-sitting jobs to open my first savings account.
I had probably saved about $42, but for a 10-year-old working at a buck-an-hour, I was rolling in the cash.
After plunking my pile of singles and quarters on the bank counter, the teller pushed a white deposit slip and a small blue book toward me. I smiled as my eyes noted the $42 balance.
Over the next few years I dutifully walked my allowance and baby-sitting money down to the corner bank, and my little nest egg steadily grew.
It was a simple lesson in saving.
But then again, I was in my pre-teen years, and I didn’t have a lot of bills nagging at my wallet yet.
By the time I could drive, things began to change. I had gas to pay for, burgers to buy, movies to see. That nice savings was starting to dwindle, so I eventually got a job as a cook at Pizza Hut. This meant more money to spend. I had places to be, and suddenly that little blue book took a back seat to wads of cash in my pocket.
Managing money was something I learned on my own. I had no real teacher, and it was by trial and error. I have myriad interests, but finance and business-type things are not among them. And wouldn’t luck have it that of the two partners I’ve had in my life, one is a business reporter and the other owns a company.
Discussions of stocks, bonds, bulls and bears make my eyes glaze over. Give me war in Iraq, the Intifada in the Mideast before asking me to choose how to invest my money in a IRA.
But of course, the older I get, and the more responsibilities I take on, the whole money issue is unavoidable. I have a vehicle, which means balancing car and insurance payments. And I now own a house. And that meant a zillion hoops to jump through, from real estate agents to finding a loan, the right kind of loan, credit checks (mine was sterling, thank you very much!) and a bunch of papers and legalese that now seems a blur.
As much as I resisted immersing myself in the financial world, I realize there is no escape. By living in America, a capitalist country, I make decisions daily that affect my financial security.
Despite my persistent claims of disdain for anything business-related, I must confess that I do get it. And the lessons I learned as a kid with a little blue book still come in handy.