Getting a grasp of my finances: Growing up and learning to be involved

This is the second post in the Getting a Grasp of my Finances series on Julieverse. Read the first, Getting a Grasp on My Finances So I Can Live Well. Get Old. 

Really, I’ve never had to worry about money or finances. I always had someone doing it for me. Growing up I always had jobs and I knew what was in my savings accounts and that I had stock in Gerber. I received dividend checks which equated to about $.40 each time and deposited them into my account.

Come April 15, I signed the tax papers where my dad said to sign and skipped along happily.

When I was in college, Dad continued doing my taxes — any income I made at my college job was spending money. I knew there was this investment world, but I didn’t worry about it. I didn’t have to.

I worked my first job after college, paid my bills and continued depositing money into my account… letting my dad take care of any financial decisions.

And then I met my husband (who seems to adore playing the market), got married and he took care of taxes and finances from my income as a teacher. That was easy. A check was automatically deposited into our joint account and life went on swimmingly. I never had to look at it or consider it.

In 2005, that all changed. I stopped working in public education and, instead, opened a boutique, Precious Personalities, where I made actual financial choices. (Which toys should I stock? Which diaper bags are worth spending money on that others will want to buy?) My initial investment was minuscule. While I tried to make the boutique into a business, in reality, it was a hobby for a mom of babies and toddlers. In part, that was because I hated the financial part. I never invested my time into learning about my income, so I was never pushed to earn more. I used a spreadsheet to record every single sale and every single expense. Owning a tiny store and doing your own bookkeeping can probably be simple, but I’m not a bookkeeper. I have boxes and boxes of papers, spreadsheets, invoices and receipts. It took me hours, more likely days, to prepare annual “reports” of income and expenses every spring before Tax Day hit.

Honestly, it’s one of the reasons I shut down Precious Personalities. (Just one, there were several including the fact that Just Precious [now known as Julieverse.com] was really taking off… thank goodness!)

In 2009, when I bought the URL and started building Just-Precious.com, I smiled thinking, “this should be easy. Income and Expenses. That’s it! I can’t wait to do taxes!”

Okay. Not really. I never got excited about them.

Come the end of the year… I had nothing organized. I had papers and papers of receipts strewn all over my desk. Recording my income and expenses took at least a day of spreadsheeting. A beautiful spring day, of course.

And so it was for 2009, 2010 and 2011.

But this year. 2012. This is the year I take control.

I did a few things right already. I created an LLC and opened a Small Business Banking account. I opened one credit card for work that all my work-related expenses are charged through. Last week, for the first time, I logged into my Small Business account and figured out my income and expenses thus far this year. It’s October, people. It was October 22, 2012. And I could already estimate my annual income. I’ve never been able to do that before.

I’m doing this for me, it’s a learning experience. After Pfizer’s Live Well. Get Old. Blogger Summit, I realized that I need to be a more responsible person. I need to learn to contribute more to my family’s future. Opening my eyes to what I can give to my family’s future and learning about investing and spending will only help me to grow.

For next week’s challenge, I’ll investigate investing accounts to help save money the right way–taking it out of a basic Small Business Checking account. I consider next week’s challenge: making it real.

Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel (jewelryverse.com) and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2012, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.

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