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How do you become money literate ?

I have never written an article like this before! About becoming money literate.

But there’s something I want to talk to you about that is really business unusual for me. It’s something I feel strongly about these days. It’s something so personal to me (and probably also to you) that the only way I could be more open around another aspect of my life would be if I wrote about sex. It’s also a personal journey that I am really happy, that I’ve begun, and something I am proud of my progress in. (oh and please beware that this is a rant and Im not english speaking as first language, so there might be spelling and grammatical errors – as always=)

I have, literally gone through a personal hell, financially for  the last 2 years. Yeah I know we don’t talk about money. We only talk about money as something we need to spend or save or pay or give, but I want to talk about how to manage them. I want to talk about money literacy.

Because basically, no one ever taught me. No one who wasn’t trying to get me to give them money at least. Now I have a personal financial advisor that I pay to help me get money literate, because I don’t trust banks anymore, not one bit. There’s something in the system that’s really broken and I could talk for hours about that part. But fellow bank clients, who are stuck somewhere in a huge bank system: I feel for you and with you.

Anyway here’s my story.

It started when we made the best and worst decision ever to try and sell our apartment while renting the house from my parents (if you don’t know it, I live in my childhood home, and we haven’t bought the house, yet).

Anyway it took us 1,5 years to sell the apartment, for half of what it was worth. 1,5 years with 2 rents to pay and no money. Everything went into this big apartment/housing hole.

Oh yeah and then there’s the debt from the apartment.

Oh and our “lovely” bank Nykredit who decided that after we had payed ruffly 24.000 kr a month in housing costs for 2 places, for 1,5 years we couldn’t afford to buy the house. basically because I ran my own company on my way up and that’s like extremely insecure apparently. Not a word on the hell we’ve been through and how Toothless Tiger and me working 60 hours a week actually have made us be able to go through this – and if I should have done the same with a steady job – I would need a monthly pay of a executive person. Anyway never mind, on with the story:

So Nykredit made us a Loan to cover the debt in the apartment, which just mentioning it gives me cramps in my stomach. But they made a loan with an interest rate of 13% because now that the apartment was sold we did not “own” anything and there was no way in hell they would let us borrow money to buy the house (and take that debt as a part of the value of the house) They even told us that it was because we had a unstable economy. I think that’s what 24.000 kr a month in housing costs will do for you through 1.5 years. It hasn’t been unstable, it’s been a disaster, and you, my dear bank hasn’t done anything to help me out. We.Have.Done.It.All.Ourselves. Thank you very much.

Right now I am paying of massively on taxes, because they need to be payed too. Im paying so much in interest to the bank that it’s bewildering and above my imagination that they would ever threat their clients like that.

But I can see light at the end of the tunnel and there’s a new bank waiting to take over our “bad economy” and we can see the dreamhouse coming closer and closer to us. Enough bitching about the bank and the economy here’s the positive side of things:

If I should define a timeperiod that has made me super adult and responsible, both as a part of a family and as a business owner – It’s the last two years. I have been unable to sleep. I have tossed and turned. I have avoided the mailbox because I didn’t know what bills would be inside of it. And I have become super clear on how I spend my money (as well as my time and my health). Friends have been fired. Dinner parties has been down-prioritized. Business processes has been changed. Networks and associations has been fired if they didn’t bring enough value. Meditations has been made. Exercise and long walk with the dog as well.

The thing is, that nobody ever told me how to manage my money, so I decided to learn it myself. Simply because I refuse to have it be a negative fact above my head; “I have a lousy economy”, But I believe that we’re actually doing better than allright. I believe we’re doing awesome these days. However, I refuse not to talk about money at dinner parties and talk about how everything is just fine, what we WANT, what we need, how nice the house looks. I guess my point is, that money really sucks. 

I have friends that are more miserable economically than I am, and know people that has so much money that it’s all they know how to be, it’s what defines them ! now isn’t that scary? And I think it’s important that we talk about how much good we would do for our kids if we put aside 20.000 when they where babies and leave them somewhere in a bankaccount they didn’t know about and when they turned 33 and they wanted to buy a house you would be like “mama has got a little something for you”.

Anyway I can’t live without money – so the last year, I have begun to become money literate. First I dumped my prices in Toothless Tiger so much, that the offers I send out was some that clients couldn’t refuse. Then I fired the person hired by Toothless Tiger who was supposed to make sure that the economy was taken care of. The I got a new person in that takes care of everything around me and economy. and Then I started to look at my personal economy. What happened ?

I took a closer look at the danish site spiir.dk which helped me a lot for budgetting and getting a lot of the finances in shape (you can’t really use the U.S based services in Denmark because you can’t sync them up with your banks, and you can’t import files) then I decided to not get so frustrated around the fact that there was no education or workshops or articles about money in danish and try to look at the american services anyway. But I ended up on a site I fell in love with. I ended up on Learnvest.com especially in their bootcamp section – where you don’t need to use the system in order to get smarter around it. But I started to study things in there and then something happened last night: I started to delete accounts on the internet. Just-eat.dk went first because I decided that if we needed fast food we could pick it up ourselves. I can’t tell you how much money we have been using on just-eat on a yearly basis, but it’s scary. I got a smaller telephone deal. I have a list of 15 things that needs trimming and a ruff look at a lot of other things that is nice-to-have but not-need-to have. Later today a lot of my designer stuff from OLD (and less careless) times are going to be sold online. Budgets are made and will be kept, and they will be presented on every boardmeeting I have around myself and my company each sunday (that I am doing anyway)

And I feel like Im becoming richer because I have made the decision to become in control of this monster. But especially because I realized, that I don’t want more money in my life , I have enough. I don’t want to be desperate around it. I just want to be financially literate and manage them better.

Oh and I have begun to build a money literacy startup. Tell me if you want to invest =)

2 Responses

  1. Tak for din åbenhed – og er det ikke bare et sammentræf, at Lone Eriksen og jeg den 31. oktober starter denne podcast http://podcast.styrpaapenge.dk
    Du og alle andre selvstændige kvinder – fremtidige lyttere – er SÅ velkomne til launchen den 31. oktober.

  2. Godt indlæg, og jeg har længe spekuleret på hvorfor “almindelig” økonomi ikke er en del af skoleskemaet.

    Jeg har også overvejet en personlig økonomirådgiver (uafhængig), da min tiltro til banken også er meget lille, selvom de (endnu) ikke har gjort noget, der kan sammenlignes med din historie. Med min lille basisviden om personlig økonomi aner jeg ganske enkelt ikke om jeg håndterer mine finanser godt nok!

    Og så lige et lille surt opstød til Karin Høgh: Hvorfor er det at det kun er “selvstændige kvinder” er velkomne på jeres podcast? Hvorfor er positiv særbehandling den eneste måde at nogle kvinder føler at de bliver ligestillet? Som mand, der tror på lige rettigheder, muligheder og pligter, bliver jeg noget så sur over den slags.

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