This month’s writing project for the Money Blog Network is a retrospective one – look back ten years and see how your financial life has changed. I’m twenty-seven right now and ten years ago my finances were pretty easy. Let’s see… I was too young for any debt (since I was a minor, a lender wouldn’t be able to collect so there’s no way I was getting any debt), I didn’t have my own car so I wasn’t going anywhere to spend money, and I lived at home. There’s no concept of personal finance then, what a beautiful time!
In all seriousness, ten years ago I really had no concept of personal finance (I didn’t know much, in fact it wasn’t until a few years into college that I learned the difference between a Republican and a Democrat – politics hardly mattered to me then), which isn’t that surprising for a 17 year old. I didn’t know anything about the stock market, I knew even less about investing in general, but I had the benefit of growing up in the age of the Internet and the wealth of information available online. In fact, I consider that one of the main reasons I am even close to being savvy about personal finance now. I didn’t grow up in a time when stock quotes were only available with the morning paper the day after (though I do remember times when real time quotes were considered premium content, rather than free!).
My first taste of personal finance was with the Motley Fool series of books. I think I borrowed each and every one of them from the library and tore through them in a month. They were entertaining to read, straightforward, and comprehensive. The folks behind the Motley Fool are brilliant in their delivery and I wholeheartedly recommend that you start reading their stuff if you want to learn the basics (and they have always advocated buying for the long haul and going with index funds, which is probably why I’m always biased towards index funds).
In ten years, I think a lot has changed and that has to do with the fact that these have been the most exciting ten years of my life so far. Wonder what the next ten will be like…