According to many of my friends (myself included), I am still just a kid. In fact, I really like to describe myself as a kid with kids. I am only 28 (turning 29 before the maple leaves turn red 😉 ) but I feel that I’ve had an interesting financial timeline so far. There are a few important steps in my life that happened and helped me realize several very important facts about personal finance. So here is my financial timeline and what I have learned so far:

8-15 Years old: My First Contact With Money

At the age of 8, I had my very first contact with money. I will always remember that day where I thought that everything deserves a reward… I had spent about 30 minutes shovelling snow on my parents’ patio while they were shovelling some serious snowfall in the driveway. Once I was done, I asked my father to be paid since I had worked pretty hard (according to me anyways!). He looked back at me and gave me a quarter… I was so insulted at first! Then, I realized that sometimes, helping is what matters, not getting money for every single thing you do in life ;-).

Later on, at the age of 13, I’ve probably learned my biggest lesson; the hard wall of going bankrupt. My dad lost his job and 2 months after, we were leaving our house for a small shack in far far away land. It was hard to grow up as a teenager without a single penny in my pockets but I promised myself to never go bankrupt, ever. Since then, I’ve always been careful when spending money and made sure I make more than I have spending each year!

15-20 Years old: Feeling like a king while really being a jester

Man, these were the good years! I was working 35 hours a week (in a dollar store and for my dad’s new company), no debts and a lot of money in my pockets ;-). While I was not making much in reality, the fact that I was living in my parents’ home and that I didn’t have any bills to pay made me feel like a millionaire.

I traveled across Europe, had a nice car and played all the video games available for my Playstation ;-). I was able to go through school without any debt as well… life was good!

20-25 Years old: Learning the ropes

At the age of 20, I left my house while I hadn’t finished with my bachelor degree. My girlfriend (now my wife) and I simply had to leave the parent’s nest to live our life. It was hard as we rapidly got into debt since I was not working full time yet.

During these 5 years, I finished my bachelor degree, paid off my debts, bought land, sold it, bought my first house, sold it, and bought my second house while having 2 kids. This was a crazy period for us as we learned how to manage our budget, buy real estate and manage our careers while raising a family.

25-29 Years old: Establishing the first stones of my success

These are definitely the best financial years of my life so far. I’ve completed my MBA, started an online company and I also work as a CFP. I now work 4 days a week and my wife is at home and takes care of the kids. My only debts are my mortgage and a car loan so we are in a good position to start saving money and look forward to the future.

It wasn’t easy to get where I am but I certainly appreciate it every day. Not having money problems is a piece of mind that is priceless! I’ve now slowed down my rhythm in order to appreciate life and my family. There is nothing more fun than spending an afternoon with the kids running around while I walk hand in hand with my wife!

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Mike, aka The Dividend Guy, authors The Dividend Guy Blog since 2010 and manages portfolios at Dividend Stocks Rock. He is a passionate investor.