In our household growing up, from what I can remember, we had two money rules. Number one was to spend all your money as and when you like, number two was that you must 'own' a house....as you can imagine it didn't go too well!
Back then my Dad was self employed and had his 'fingers is many pies'. I can remember how he always carried around with him a wad of cash. And I mean a big wad as everything was done in cash. His philosophy was to spend, spend and spend. And boy did he.
Up until the age of twelve we'd lived in three (big) houses and had a very good lifestyle. I now realise of course that the houses came and went with how the business was doing. He would run out of money, sell the house, make money, buy another house and so on. Everything changed in 1977 when my Mum and Dad got divorced, as his businesses went down the pan for the final time and we lost the house.
It seems however that my money rules where already set and as soon as I became an adult I followed the same 'money' path as my Dad. I got my first mortgage at 19 (and also my first credit card), however no wad of cash for me, just a salary - a small salary. I kept that flat for two years and ended up selling it, using the equity to pay off my credit cards. Then I got married, bought another house.....bought another house, sold that and used the leftover to clear some of my credit card debt...there was a cycle! Not exactly the same cycle but a very similar one.
Buy a house - spend lots of money - sell the house - repeat. Back then you could do that and still get by as house prices were on the up.
Not once during the twenty years did I stop and think about what I was doing. I was really money stupid.
Thankfully though I got a little wiser and back in February 2005, faced with £45k of debt and no house equity to bail me out I had to take control and pay off the money the hard way. Bit by bit.
Move forward to today and I have one simple money rule - to live debt free (and that includes the mortgage)
I'm not blaming my Dad for any of this as he was, and still is, the best Dad in the world despite his spending issues. I only have myself to blame. I was an intelligent adult and I should have known better!