This week I am going to talk more about me and my personal background. I would like to share a little bit about my personal life and mistakes that I have made in the past that has made me change my attitude towards money. This is simply a quick update blog on me and my past experience. Normal blogging with money management tips and tricks will resume next week. Perhaps you can relate to me once you have read this blog and I hope it my help you as a reader to learn from my mistakes and in turn make you change the way you think about money.
Before I begin this blog, I just want to clarify something, I am not a “financial guru” or a “professional financial adviser”. I don’t have any formal training on the topic whatsoever. I am just an average guy, who has taking time to learn, experiment and implement different things regarding money management. I have learned a great deal, but, I have still a lot more to learn. However, that been said, I honestly think I am actually in better position than your typical “financial adviser” and better suited to help you as a reader with financial difficulty since I have been in your shoes, I know exactly how you feel and I know exactly how you can turn it around. I can relate to your worries, frustrations and mistakes. I am not perfect when it comes to money management and will never claim to be. This blog is about sharing with the world what I have learned/experienced and as a result it may help some people with their financial issues.
Now, lets talk about my favorite subject – me! (I am just kidding, I am not that vain). I was originally born in Belarus (Eastern European country sandwiched between Poland and Russia) and came to Ireland 14 years ago, when I was 10. I have some fond memories of Belarus. It was a different lifestyle to Ireland. It is not a very wealthy country. So, as a kid I worked on the farm. We worked hard, getting all we can from the land and with our farm animals in order to put food on the table. It was a simple life with simple goals – “appreciate what you have and be happy”. I loved that. However, at 10 years of age, when I touched down on Irish soil I was thrown into a completely different environment. Suddenly, I was surrounded by a more money driven society. It was a huge culture shock for a kid to go through. It took me awhile to adjust to the busy and hectic Irish environment, but, I think I have done well (maybe too well). I have bought into the Irish way of life and now see Ireland as my home. Growing up in Ireland during the “good life” with the Celtic Tiger and “money grows on trees” attitude, I had to adapt and fast. At the time nobody in Ireland was worried about money and everyone could be anyone they wanted to be. Economy was great with plenty of jobs and plenty of money. (That is before the recession hit of course)
Growing up I was always naturally interested in science and technology. Therefore, it was an easy decision for me to pick engineering as my career choice. I spend gruelling 4 years in college and now I am a fully qualified engineer with just over two years’ experience. As mentioned above, throughout my life I was always drawn to the latest tech craze, whether it was the new iPhone, new gaming console, new smart watch etc. I wanted to know everything to do with technology, I wanted the latest gadget and I wanted it now. After some time due to my technology interest and the taste of the “good life” in Ireland I was transformed from a kid with basic lifestyle attitude to a kid with “instant gratification” attitude. These “tech gadgets” and the fine things in life were expensive, but I didn’t care, at the time that was the only thing that mattered, Not because I needed it but because I just wanted it. I wanted to feel that adrenaline rush and that excitement when you purchase something new, shiny and techy. However, when I was a kid growing up this “instant gratification” attitude was easy to tame. I didn’t have much money growing up so I could only spend what I had. Although, I spent hours upon hours looking at the coolest gadgets, coolest games, coolest “anything” I couldn’t just go out and buy it. It was just a dream and I had to make do with my basic mobile phone and lack of a laptop. I wanted it all but my desires were restricted by my financial status as a kid. That was all well and good until I went to college.
It was like a demon has been unleashed inside me when I went to college. I got the taste of money. My parents worked very hard and have given me some money with a simple message:
“This money is to be used to pay for college and everything that comes with it for the entire year. You can blow all the money in your first month if you wish or you can be smart about it and ration the money until May”
I first I laughed at my parents. They hardly thought I was that stupid that I would blow my entire yearly budget in one month. I know they were just using this as a hyperbole but still, I was smarter than that. Well, so I thought. Little did I know, but I was about to learn the harshest lesson of money management that I will ever learn. I got addicted to gambling. Why? Because I had money and was seeking for that “instant gratification”, that adrenaline rush, that freedom. I had the best phone on the market, I had a fantastic laptop, I had nice clothes, but, I was greedy and wanted more. Gambling was a way for me to make “easy money”. However, that is a story for another day. I have a lot of views and opinions when it comes to gambling. I would happily branch out and talk about my experience, my actions, my mistakes as well as my cure to gambling addiction as part of this blog (but in a different section) if that’s what people want to know more about. Let me know in the comments below if you wish to hear more about my gambling addiction and how it ruins lives and how it almost ruined mine.
However, gambling was not the only issue I had to deal with when it came to money management in college. I couldn’t control my desire for the flashy things – again “instant gratification”. I wanted the latest phone, the best computer, Calvin Klein underwear, the most expensive aftershave etc. I had money now sitting in my bank account. It was as if it was calling my name to spend it. Spending money on college books wasn’t cool in my eyes. I wanted to party, to experience the college life and money management was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to be cool, however, in reality I was a fool. I was given this sum of money by my parents so I could budget, spend money wisely and learn some money management skills for the future. It was another lesson my parents wanted to teach me and I failed that test as well as failing some of my engineering exams too. I let my parents down and most importantly I let myself down. It was combination of gambling, stress and careless attitude. Managing money doesn’t just mean that you have more euros in the bank. Money management, if it is done right, teaches you control, patience and organisation as well as making you more determined and grateful for what you have. It just took me a long time to realise that. I grinded through 4 years of college, with some ups and a lot of downs academically and financially. Once the “nightmare” of college was over It was time for me to start my engineering career with a bang and recoup my losses from my college years. That was my though as I stood there with my engineering degree in my hand smiling for the camera on my graduation day.
Starting my engineering career was a new start for me, clean slate, a do-over, That was my thinking as I was sitting in the lobby of an engineering firm in Limerick. However, little did I know, this “instant gratification” attitude was still deep within me. Yes, I stopped gambling and had managed to save some money, but desire for flashy things still haunted me. I reverted back to my old habits and kept spending pay-check after pay-check on unnecessary things. Buying the best TV, the latest console, the coolest smartphone, designer brand clothes etc. I hardly had money for rent and utilities most months and my car was running on fumes but I just kept spending money like it was going on trees. I was reckless and I was foolish. I was going nowhere fast and if I didn’t change my ways it was a matter of time before I would revert back to gambling. I had to change my behaviour. I had to change my ways, but how!
I started researching, reading, collecting data/knowledge on all things money. Some things that I read I liked others not so much. I cherry picked articles and ideas that best suited me and my lifestyle, twisted them around and improved on them and suddenly money was no longer an issue. Ok, it all sounds easy, but I spent months doing this and I am still doing it to this day. I am always learning and evolving. I now create my own money management methods and implement them to see if they work. Some do, some don’t. I am always chopping and changing some things, other things always stay the same. I always liked to talk about and to explore other ideas and methods of money management with other people in order to improve my ways, but to a lot of people money management is a tedious/boring topic. People are more interested talking about Trump, Brexit, Football, Kardashians, that funny video on YouTube etc. I wanted to share my views and ideas but, I didn’t know how or where. This is where my girlfriend, Leanne, played a big role. She pushed me to share my thoughts and ideas via a blog. At first I was very skeptical and was a bit shy about the whole idea of staring this blog mainly due to the fact that I thought I would get same reaction online, like I have been getting with people when I bring up the topic with people face to face. I kept putting off starting this blog. I kept giving my girlfriend every excuse under the sun in order not to start it. However, she was having none of it. It was a matter of time before it would happen. One week she gave me a stern deadline by which I had to have my first blog up (the Introduction blog). At that moment I just said “f*ck it” and wrote what I thought would interest people. I was a bit taken aback by the reaction to my first blog and I am still blown away by the reaction this blog as a whole is getting. My thought was always “If I help at least one person with their money management then it was worth doing this blog”. However, it seems like this blog is proving to be very useful to a lot of you readers, which I am very happy about. (Now I am not so happy with my girlfriend saying “told you so” but, I guess I can live with that.) She pushed me to open up and share my views to you readers and I am glad that she did. The more people I can help and the more people that could change their bad financial habits and attitude the happier I am. I would like to thank you as a reader for your support, comments and feedback. I hope we continue this journey and improve together.
Thank you for reading this blog and I welcome any comments, questions or any feedback in general. If you as a reader would like me to branch out on any other topic, please let me know. Also, if you would like for me to talk more about my experience with gambling addiction in a separate section of this blog please let me know. If it gets enough support I will add this section to this blog. In a way this blog is written with the reader in mind. This is not “My” blog. This is “our” blog. We are all in the same boat together and we will all improve and grow together. Hope you like this blog and if you want me to expand on anything do let me know. Again, I appreciate the support and feedback and chat to you on the next one.