We are pleased to share the money memories of Charles “Chuck” Bovaird. Chuck is a financial writer and consultant with strong knowledge of asset markets and investing concepts. Currently, he serves as a Senior Contributor for Forbes and Vice President of Content for the financial services firm Quantum Economics. He has worked for financial institutions including State Street, Moody’s Analytics and Citizens Commercial Banking. An author of more than 500 publications, his work has appeared in mediums such as Forbes, Fortune, Washington Post and Investopedia. Chuck has spoken at industry events across the world and delivered speeches on financial literacy for Mensa and the Boston Rotaract.
SON OF A SCIENTIST & ART TEACHER
Leslie: Share with us a little bit about growing up – your family and community and what led you to this career.
Chuck: I grew up in a town called Shrewsbury, which is a roughly 45-minute drive from Boston. My mother had a Master’s in Art Education and taught art at the Montessori school in Shrewsbury. My father had a Botany degree and worked with scientists his whole life.
EARLY INCLINATIONS OF AN ENTREPRENEUR
Leslie: Share with us your first money memories.
Chuck: One of my first money experiences was taking short money (less than $10), riding my bike to the nickel and dime store in the next town over (Northborough), buying candy, and then biking home so I could sell it to the local kids.
SKIPPED LUNCH TO SAVE
Leslie: What was your first savings memory?
Chuck: One of my first savings experiences happened in either fourth or fifth grade (I can’t remember 100%). My parents would give me $2 every day for lunch, so if I skipped lunch for two weeks straight, I would have $20. To an adult, $20 probably doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but to someone who was roughly 10 years old, it gave me some cash I could use to purchase basketball cards, comic books and similar items.
ADDRESSED AS SIR AT A YOUNG AGE
Leslie: What was your first job?
Chuck: The first job I remember having (aside from doing tasks around the property I grew up on) was officiating youth soccer games. I believe I first served as a referee when I was 14, which was interesting because people would refer to me as “sir.” If memory serves, I started off with U-8 games (players had to be under the age of eight at a certain time), which paid $13 a game. I can’t remember what I did with the money, aside from maybe spending it on CDs (this was back in the 1990s).
SOCCER REF TO STATE HOUSE
Leslie: Did you work as a teen and/or in college?
Chuck: I worked as a teenager, and I also worked in college. I remember refereeing soccer games during both time frames, and that was something I rather enjoyed doing. Other job I worked as a teenager was at at Stop & Shop and Walmart. I also did internships, holding positions at the Massachusetts State House and also the office of Congressman James McGovern.
BEING FRUGAL IS SMART
Leslie: What was one mistake or regret you made as a kid, teen or college student with money. And, what was one smart money choice you made?
Chuck: As for a money mistake, I bought a Pontiac Firebird when I was about 19 years old. To a person my age, having a car like that sounded rather appealing. However, once I bought it, I realized it wasn’t necessarily the greatest move. I mean it was a nice car, but it didn’t get very good gas mileage, and I think it depreciated more quickly than other cars I had later on. One smart money move I made was being frugal. I certainly could have spent more on material items, but I didn’t consider that necessary.
Leslie: Should personal finance be taught in schools?
Chuck: Absolutely. Some people have argued the state isn’t obligated to teach people about personal finance and other financial subjects, but the state teaches students many other topics they may never actually use in real life. Personal finance would be a very practical thing to teach.
THOUGHTS FROM CHUCK ON A FEW PERSONAL FINANCE TOPICS
Chuck: Student debt is one subject, in particular, people should probably learn about before they enter (or even apply to) college. College used to be the “golden ticket” people could use to get a better life, but these days, not everyone agrees with that premise. If people are going to attend college, it is helpful for them to understand what they will end up paying for it. In addition, they can benefit greatly from learning about the effects interest rates – and minimum payments – will have on the total amount they pay.
Chuck: Credit cards are another subject that people should learn about, as these seem easy to access, but can quickly saddle a person with costly debt.
Chuck: One final thing I would like to share is my view that we live in a ridiculously entitled society. People don’t need to shop at Whole Foods or go on four international vacations a year to survive. Many people in America complain about the cost of living, but pretty much everyone has a smartphone.
To live, people need things like food, water and oxygen. They do not need $300 sneakers or the latest iPhone.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CHUCK
To discover more about Chuck connect with him on LinkedIn at Charles Bovaird!