Young Money: Dad was right

Mariah Clark is a 17 year old high school student from Palmerston North. She wrote this post as part of a task for the Massey University Business Boot Camp – BNZ was a Gold sponsor of the Boot Camp and hosted students at BNZ sites across Auckland to meet staff and gain insights into how the bank operates.

“Of course you can be a millionaire! Just stop and think about the steps involved.”

My dad’s motto in life is ‘you can do anything if you try hard enough.’ When, at seven years old, I asked if I could become a millionaire and he answered in the affirmative, I was set at the beginning of my journey with money. And even though I didn’t know it, I had learnt my first crucial lesson; Make a goal, logically put achievable steps in place and simply persevere until the goal is reached.

_ “If you never stop trying it’s impossible to fail” _

Following this, and from the time that I started getting pocket money, my dad insisted that I save at least 20% of everything that I made. When you spend an entire week working to get $5 you can imagine that the concept of only being able to keep $4 is not so graciously received, especially when that means that suddenly your adolescent dreams of getting five packets of one dollar lollies for the walk home each day, was being thwarted.

Each Friday, walking home, empty handed without my dollar stash of lollies definitely allowed me plenty of time to weigh up if it was all really worth it. My empty tummy, however, hurt a little less each time my bank statement gained a little more.

My first purchase was a little silver hair straightener. I was elated, to say the least. Walking out of the shop, bag in hand, the idea suddenly dawned on me that little things done consistently over time can lead to big results.

As any avid shopper knows, once you get the bug, it feels basically incurable. This was very relevant in my case and as I went through my early teens my wardrobe grew substantially, and my bank account rapidly declined.  Thankfully my dad saw the spiral that I was very quickly disappearing into and left me with a resounding statement “By saving up to buy something, even if it’s big, is really just delayed spending” My initial though was ‘How am I going to live without shopping’ and to be quite honest my thirteen year old self really didn’t see that as an option. I sat down with dad and explained to him my impending predicament and together we came up with a solution; two savings accounts, one untouchable long term savings which will be used in the future for investments, and of course one to supplement my ‘delayed spending’. 

Despite this, at the age of fourteen my spending was still very much exceeding my money making and I decided I needed to get a job. I found a job babysitting and on average I would make about $80 dollars a month, depending on how often they needed me. As the work was not consistent it became increasingly hard to save 20%. As I quickly figured out, if the money is there, you will spend it. Herewith I learnt another very important lesson, by putting an automatic payment in place, you don’t see the money come out of your account and evidently you won’t even realise that it’s gone.

During my time babysitting, I would always ensure the house was clean before they came home. Consistently for a year I cleaned with little to no acknowledgment and no extra pay at all, until one day the family offered me a position replacing their professional cleaners and a guaranteed $50 every week. This substantially increased not only my weekly salary, but also brought me to the realisation of another very important concept in relation to not only money, but to everyday life. Always do your best, go over and above in everything that you do, by not settling for mediocracy you open up opportunities for yourself that you never even knew existed.

Through my job, which I have now been at for three and a half years, I have been able to save up and buy a brand new scooter an d upgrade to a car - I can now proudly say that I am the recent owner of a Volkswagen convertible. This has also all been achieved without touching my future savings account, which is sitting on the better side of $2,000.

I am seventeen, and already I have been able to accomplish so much with some simple principles that I live each day with. My journey has only begun and I still have a long way till I reach my million dollar goal, but I can tell you confidently that I won’t stop till I get there. My dad is someone who has never let me believe that I am incapable of anything, and neither are you.

“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got”

If you are studying or training and want to know how BNZ can help you manage your money, read more about our tertiary benefits for students and apprentices.

_
Young Money: The art of managing money - tales from a teen
Young Money: The stuggle is real - when to save and when to splurge
Young Money: Fortune favours the thrifty
Young Money: Own it, don’t loan it
Young Money: Big cities on small budgets
Young Money: Haunted by the ghost of mismanaged finances past


What a fantastic article. Your dad has taught you well, Mariah. This article took me back to some of the first financial lessons my dad taught me. He’s an apple orchadist, and while he never gave me pocket money I always had a job and could earn as much as I needed.

You’ve shown excellent iniative - well done on the cleaning thing! - and the values you’ve learned now will stand you in good stead when you go out into the world.

Well done - there are many who could learn from this! :slight_smile:

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