• Miss Money Box

A complete history of my financial life

I’m sure my father wanted to have burly boys – or at the very least, athletic girls. From a very early age, I earned my pocket money by undertaking manual labour far beyond the expected abilities of a small child.

I dug more than one trench for more than one gas main, chopped firewood, painted fences, concreted a carport, washed cars and kept the back garden tidy utilising a pair of violent looking over-sized secateurs.

Washing Dad's car

I turned my bedroom into a shop. Put a sign on the door that said, “everything for sale, make me an offer”. Sometimes, dad would buy things just to encourage my entrepreneurial spirit. He didn’t really have a use for my decorative Japanese fan, but I took his 20 cents anyway.

I would take my pocket money and spend it on ways to make more. I attended garage sales, bought items I thought my family would like, then sold them to them at an inflated price. I found a great deal on scented notepads at the local stationery wholesaler, bought 20 for 20 cents apiece, then on-sold them to my school mates for a 150 percent mark up. Fools.

Most Sundays dad would take my sister and me car yarding. He was an expert at doing up cars and selling them for profit. Sometimes, he didn’t even do them up, just flipped them on to a new owner. I went partly because I knew the outing would end with a mustard covered American hotdog, but I also couldn’t resist the combination of commerce and condiments.

At age 12 I ventured into the world of small business. It was the 90s, and people had an insatiable appetite for terracotta. Almost fortnightly, dad would drive me to the local plant shop, I’d buy 20 terracotta pots for 99c each, paint them in a range of staple designs and sell them to kids at my high school for $5 each. Custom designs cost a premium of $7. I absolutely raked it in.

The emotional animal that is the stock market became a feature in my day-to-day life in my early teens. Back in the days before the internet, dad would call me in the evening from work and get me to relay the high, low and closing prices of all the stocks in his portfolio from the newspaper. I didn’t know much about what dad was doing but it piqued an interest that has formed the basis of my entire financial life strategy.

Dad’s enthusiasm for the stock market has powered on long into his retirement, and mine has only grown since my teenage years. In my 20s, I started buying shares. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to end up so buying a place (and being able to afford to buy a place!) was not the right option for me. I don’t claim to be a financial expert, but I have a healthy enthusiasm for managing money. I hope you will come and join me on my personal finance journey.