Growing up, do you recall ever being told to save your money? …to store any extra money away into your piggy bank or bank account? …or that saving money will give you money later on in life?
I was taught all of the above in my early years. My memories of those comments were repeated time over time whenever I was given money as a gift or earned it on my own. I saved my money in my piggy bank. I put every bill from all my lucky red envelopes I received during Chinese New Year’s, my Birthday, Christmas, as well as my weekly allowance, into that cylinder shaped tin container I called my piggy bank when I was growing up.
From time to time, I would pull out a few dollars to spend at the local neighborhood corner store as it was directly on my path to school each day. Inside the store, was always filled with isles of sugary sweets. From Nerds, to Twizzlers to Mars Bars to Runts. Some of my childhood favorites were: Fruit By The Foot Roll Ups, classic coke bottle gummies and sour key suckers. But my all-time favorite were the Old Dutch potato chips! My eyes would always widen up and my heart would smile as I stood there in the land of delicious opportunity.Thankfully, being taught to save money was deeply instilled and I never overindulged with buying too many delicious sweets which kept my piggy bank weighing rather healthy.
I carried this habit with me straight into my early college years, where I found myself saving a decent amount of money earned from my part time job. Of course, still spending some money on some of my favorite goods. The only difference was, instead of sweet and savory snacks, it was now clothes, makeup and weekend entertainment. During that time, my grown up piggy bank (aka bank account) had a consistent savings balance of about $2500. My bi-weekly pay cheque was quite comfortable and I always had a good awareness of my account balance.
I was ultimately trading more of my time for more money
So what was the problem you might ask? For many students at that age, having a savings of $2500 in their bank account was exhilarating. For me however, that was not the case, as there came a point, parallel to the human psyche, I wanted more… more savings in my piggy bank! Essentially, I wanted to see my it grow bigger and feel it weighing more. The solution at the time was simple and clear. If I was to take on more shifts at work, my piggy bank would grow. That was simple enough. As the number of hours I worked increased, so did the numbers in my bank account. From $2500 in savings, it quickly jumped to $3000.
At the time this was very encouraging as I set out a goal to save more money and I made it happen!! Of course, I was ultimately trading more of my time for more money. This did not last for very long, as my school work happened to take southern turn. I was falling behind in my studies as well I was feeling quite stressed in trying to manage my transition into post secondary school, my social life with friends, my work performance, as well as my well-being. Yes, my goal of wanting to save more money was achieved, yet I found myself spending even more money to compensate for the level of stress I was going through at the time. After feeling this way for a while I found myself back where I started, at the $2500 savings mark.
I had this feeling of defeat. Not only did I unsuccessfully grow my piggy bank the way I had envisioned, I sacrificed my own well-being for a goal of wanting to save more. It was then I realized that each of those dollars I saved, stayed exactly the same. Nothing was different about those dollars saved, nothing changed, and nothing grew. I remember thinking to myself there has got to be a better way to grow the savings in my account.
It was almost immediately after this revelation of looking for a way to grow my savings, my employer approached me to tell me about the company’s employee stock options purchase benefit. At the time, the only piece of knowledge I had instilled in me and carried forth was to ‘save my money’ in my piggy bank. I had little understanding on any investments, let alone company stock options. Luckily my boss took the time to enlighten me on the topic. I discovered that this was an incentive the company I was working for offered. Employees had the option to put aside up to 15% of their pay-cheque to purchase company stock shares at the lowest market value of each quarter.
Up until that point I wholeheartedly believed that saving my money in the piggy bank was the end-all be-all of my financial existence.
At that moment, I saw this as an alternative avenue to continue my savings growth. Therefore I made a decision to opt in at 10% of every pay-cheque. A few months had passed and I had forgotten that I had made the decision to take part in purchasing those stocks. Then one day during a shift of mine, my boss handed me a letter size envelope sent from corporate. I had no clue what was inside the envelope and when I opened it up, there inside was a certificate of ownership for 18 shares of the company stock!
I thought to myself… how cool is this? I am an owner of 18 shares of the company I worked for!
I knew there was great value to this piece of paper. However, I certainly did not take the time to fully comprehend the details with all the excitement. I did, however, feel confident in making that decision to add this new route to grow my savings. More than 3 years went by as I continued to receive the certificate of ownership of the company stocks each quarter. At some point I felt like I was playing a collector’s game as I continued to receive and collect the certificates of the shares. With each certificate, I would deposit them into a trading account which I had opened at a TD WaterHouse. I deposited a total of nearly 200 shares! Logically, I knew that I was practicing a healthy money habit, yet at the time I didn’t necessarily recognize my actions as anything more than saving more money.
The day came when my boss brought to my attention that our company stock price was at an all-time high and if I happened to still be holding onto any shares, she advised that it would be a good time to sell and make a healthy profit…and a very healthy profit it was! After making the decision on selling nearly 200 shares, I managed to generate over 4 times the original amount I had taken from each paycheque overall in the 3 years I had opted into this benefit! Through those actions, I was unexpectedly lead on a path where investing the money I saved resulted in the creation of having my money work for me. Unknowingly, in those three years my money worked for me resulting in 4 times the growth rate. Up until that point I wholeheartedly believed that saving my money in the piggy bank was the end-all be-all of my financial existence.
It is never too late to learn that the best way to creating more money is to make investments work for you.
Looking at this today might seem trivial. How could I have possibility had my savings grow 4 times more if I had not made the decision to invest into purchasing the company shares with the money I was making? Had it not been for that experience, I may have continued to trade in my time for more money until my well-being and health was compromised just to see my savings grow.
We see that happening in our society right now. People trading in more of their time to earn more money. Trading in more of their well-being for extra savings. Burning themselves out not realizing there are other ways to create more money without having to compromise themselves or fall into perpetual loops of working, saving, spending and working, saving spending. Warren Buffet says, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you are sleeping you will work for the rest of your life”. Similarly, Robert Kawasaki, author of the all time bestselling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad also says, “School teaches you how to work for money but it doesn’t teach you how to have money work for you.”
It is never too late to learn that the best way to creating more money is to make investments work for you. If you can see value in having investments work to create more money, seek out a method to get your money working for you now. In my experience, I have found that the best way to discover methods other people are using is to simply ask. Most people who are creating a healthy amount of wealth in their life are open to sharing what they are practicing.They too, at one point, had to learn from someone else. While they may all have different ways to do it, one thing remains unanimous with them all…
…once you learn how to have money work for you, you’ll never go back!
I would love to hear what methods you are practicing when it comes to having your money work for you?