INTRODUCING REBECCA HAUGH
We are pleased to introduce you to Rebecca Haugh, CFP®, AIFA®, Financial Advisor, Mom.
Back Story – In Her Own Words!
I am a Certified Financial Planner living and working in Western Pennsylvania. I studied Personal Finance in college and having been working in this field for about 15 years.
I am lucky to have married my high school sweetheart 13 years ago and today we have two young children, a son age 9 and a daughter age 7. We love the outdoors and this summer we have all taken up a new family archery hobby when we aren’t out gathering miles on our bicycles!
EARNING SPENDING MONEY
Team Sammy: What was one of your first money memories?
Rebecca Haugh: One of my first money memories was stamping receipt books for my dad’s business so his contact information was at the top of every customer receipt. I earned either a quarter or a dime for every completed book. I remember going through boxes and boxes of those books trying to earn spending money to take to the pool in the summer or go do something with my friends.
WANTING TO CREATE SAVINGS
Team Sammy: What was your first job (formal or informal)? How much did you earn and what you did with the money?
Rebecca Haugh: My first real job not working for my parents was as a kitchen aid in a local hospital. I washed dishes and prepared food for the patients and earned a little better than minimum wage.
I remember working as many hours as I could to create savings. At the time I didn’t know exactly what I was saving for but I knew it was important to not spend my entire paycheck and that having money in the bank was important.
SOME OF DAD’S MESSAGE STUCK
Team Sammy: Did your parents talk to you and/or teach you about money / personal finance growing up? What do you remember? What, if anything stuck?
Rebecca Haugh: The summer I was 15 years old, my father had me work in the storefront for his appliance repair and parts business. He told me that the first $500 I made that summer, he was going to invest into an IRA for me. At 15, I was definitely not keen on the idea of giving up any of my money and had a lot of questions! He explained to me an IRA was for my future and I needed to be thinking about it, even if it felt very far away.
Unfortunately, my dad didn’t hold me to his plan. But, some of his message stuck. As soon as I got a job with an employer that offered a retirement plan, I signed up as quickly as a I could. Then, I increased my contribution when I worked extra hours.
NOT SO SMART AND SMART MONEY CHOICES
Team Sammy: What was one mistake and one smart money choice you made as a kid or teen?
Rebecca Haugh: My biggest money mistake as a teen was thinking I could take care of college all by myself. My parents were divorcing at the time and I wanted to prove I could stand on my own and didn’t need their help. That led me to putting a semester’s tuition on a credit card. It wasn’t until I was married and my husband helped out, that my total credit card debts were completely paid off. To this day, I will not pay credit card interest. I make sure the balance is paid monthly.
The one smart move I did make as a teen was putting money into the retirement plan at the hospital as soon as I was old enough. I started working there at 17 and you had to be 18 to participate. I remember being upset I couldn’t start sooner! As I look back, the tuition should have been paid with the money I was saving, but it was better saved than spent on other shiny objects!
GETTING HOOKED ON PERSONAL FINANCE
Team Sammy: What piqued your interest in personal finance?
Rebecca Haugh: I started college as a Biology major thinking I would go into the medical field. But I had a mid-college crisis and decided that wasn’t the right direction for me.
I thought back to things I had experienced and remembered back to my father’s words urging me to save for my future and the earlier you do it, the easier it is.
I talked to my friends and other classmates, and no one really knew what they were going to do with their “big kid” paycheck, as I like to call them, once they were out of school. I did some research and discovered a Personal Finance track. The classes were full of information I felt everyone needed to know and I was hooked!
THE ONE MONEY HABIT
Team Sammy: One question I ask everyone is: If you could only teach a child one money habit, what would it be and why?
Rebecca Haugh: Money has a purpose and you need to look at putting it in 3 buckets – the now, the little bit from now, and the far in the future.
The now bucket is for spending day-to-day.
The “little bit from now” is savings for spending you want to do sometime in the not-too-distant future. Maybe that’s a gaming system, or a car, or education expenses.
The far-in-the-future bucket is for bigger things, like a house, or the ability to stop working one day.
You have to fill all 3 buckets. Not one of them can be neglected.
KIDS AND MONEY
Team Sammy: Is it important to teach kids about money? At what age should parents start?
Rebecca Haugh: I truly believe you can start talking to kids about money at any age. You can make up a pretend store with play money, or simply introduce them to what money looks like. Let kids help pay for things at the store. The more they are involved with money, the more they will want to expand their knowledge about it; and learn what it means, not only its value but what value it will bring to them later.
MONEY AND SCHOOLS
Team Sammy: Should personal finance be taught in schools?
Rebecca Haugh: Absolutely! The more times and places a person is exposed to a lesson, value or theme, the more it likely it will stick. What works for one person will not work for all. Repetition of personal finance lessons in different mediums from different sources will only strengthen the retention and application. Schools should be a part of that equation at all grade levels.
Team Sammy: Any thoughts on credit cards?
Rebecca Haugh: I want everyone to understand the pitfalls of credit cards and the instant gratification they provide. I absolutely understand needing to lean on credit cards in times of crisis and financial burden, but credit cards are a tool that need to be used properly. I have seen so many individuals and families, myself included, get in over their heads with credit cards. Interest accumulates so quickly if they are not fully paid off every month. Carrying credit card debt absolutely slows financial progress toward all other financial goals.
Team Sammy: Do you have any pet peeves related to money?
Rebecca Haugh: Trying to get rich quick in the stock market! Yes, many people have hit it big purchasing single stocks and being highly concentrated, but that is not the norm. Everyone is quick to tell you all about their winners, but you will have to dig to find out more about the loser positions they have picked. Investing for wealth accumulation, and to accomplish goals, is a long process, not an overnight process.
Team Sammy: Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share?
Rebecca Haugh: I want to thank you and Sammy for passionately going after your mission. It has so much meaning not only for the now but for so many future generations! Thank you for letting me participate as well!
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