My mother once told me her father, one of twelve children born to a Welsh miner, was so poor growing up in the early 19th century that even a loaf of bread was a luxury. She found wads of money stuffed under his mattress countless times when she was older.
It is no surprise someone who, as a child, experienced World War One, then the Great Depression, and served in World War Two was so thrifty. He retired comfortably, having lived a long, prosperous military career.
Many have similar stories of growing up poor but becoming motivated to raise their family without the same challenges. Older generations can provide the best financial lessons to the younger generations. Even in these economic doldrums, some members of society thrive on understanding hardship for the same reasons — they all grew up with less than nothing and intended to change their financial situation.
These people know the value of not only the dollar but the cent. Their hawkish brilliance serves as a code for how to surf the waves of high interest and inflation that will one day hit.
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One of these characters was kind enough to share his fiscal fortitude. However, this fortune wasn’t inherited but forged from growing up poor, only to emerge in his adult life a victor. So, why not call him Victor?
(Sidenote: Victor is a Brit, referring to pounds, which I will continue in his honor.)
1. What Goes Up Usually Stays There
With a fluctuating currency linked to global shifts and domestic policies, Victor warned to always see the pound’s value as falling. Awareness of this will help you, notwithstanding the occasional distracting spike in value.
2. Value Every Pound or Dollar
Making money is more challenging than spending it; each pound you earn is a luxury, and you should make a benefit analysis for the money you spend — if anything, out of respect.
3. You Can Have Nice Things in Moderation
Just because you aren’t poor now, don’t change how your mindset was when you were. The mantra is to remain “poor at your core.” By all means, buy nice things that improve your quality of life but justify each.
4. Diversify Your Revenue
Nothing is guaranteed in life — especially your next paycheck. Victor believes that relying on one sole income stream can be dangerous. He always makes sure there are at least two avenues for a salary.
5. Credit Where It’s Due
Victor’s philosophy is that using credit cards wisely means you spend their money and not your own. Ensure you pay cards off at the end of each month after making the most of their rewards or cashback features.
6. Zero Finance For The Win
When purchasing large items like a car, always look for 0% financing and pay it off before the offer runs out — this goes for intro offers, too. Spending credit card companies’ money is a fringe benefit here.
7. You Will Never See The Truly Rich
Everyone has been there in their twenties if they have a good income: the flashy watches, cars, and holidays. Victor suffered the same fate, though he soon learned that anyone who holds wealth never flaunts it.
8. Buy And Large
Join Sam’s Club or Costco to make the most of their bulk offers and organize a pantry for the apocalypse. Being astute with long-life groceries means you keep money on the product and need fewer journeys by car to restock, saving gasoline.
9. Keep Tabs On Everything
Astounded by how many people don’t keep account of their expenditures, Victor keeps track of everything coming in or leaving the bank. Ensuring he accounts for everything is a keystone of Victor’s financial methodology.
10. Lock That Mortgage in (If You Can)
Finally, having a locked-a-low-interest-rate mortgage will help you when interest rates rise. Victor shared how he locked his rate in for ten years — even ignoring his lender’s advice that it would drop again. It didn’t, and he saved thousands per year. Follow your instincts, not the banks’ ulterior motives.
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This post first appeared on The Cents of Money.