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Question of the Day #15

This article was written by in Personal Finance. 52 comments.

I am participating in JLP’s Question of the Day Marathon, and today, it’s my turn to ask the question. Also, I have a free copy of The Big Money by Fred Kobrick to give away to one random commenter if at least 50 unique individuals (not including trackbacks) post their responses to this question below:

While growing up, what were you taught about personal money management by your immediate family and surroundings (directly or by example, positive or negative), and how do these ideas factor into your life now?

Don’t forget to enter your email address (or website address) so I can contact you if you’re selected to win the book. I won’t use the address for anything else, I promise.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published August 21, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Blaine Moore (First Time Homeowner)

I am sure that I was taught a lot by example, since I seem to have a pretty good idea of what I am doing now and had a good base to build off of. I do not specifically remember many lessons though.

My mother made us pay for things ourselves, so that we were used to handling money. I remember buying something pointless once and she asked me why I had bothered, to which I had no good answer. Other than that, I think I got most of my lessons through osmosis.

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avatar coelomic

I was taught that to have more money is to save. Investing was risk prone and was taught to shy away from it. Today the advice regarding saving I still uphold but my ideas regarding investing has changed and I am happy to take risks.

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avatar Tricia

Without going into details, I learned at a young age how to worry about money. Worry about having it, worrying about if there will be any to live on. At the time, because I was young, I had no control over the situation. I believe that is a big reason I take control over the money in my marriage and probably the biggest reason I am looking to have a stable financial life since my son was born.

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avatar D

I was taught by 2 extremes, that consistently play polar sides against eachother everyday.

1. My mother taught me (not outright, by our life) that there is never enough. Work is more important than family. All may be risked to get to the professional position you need to be at.

2. My grandparents taught me, Money is not everything. Money doesn’t matter. Give away and help all you can. Family is the only thing that matters.

Of course, this has left me internally in turmoil. I am constantly worry over money and what I think we should have or how to get to that “sweet” spot. The only difference from my mother is that my first mission is always to my family. There is always money to be made. But only one Varsity Football game on Friday. Just like my grandparents said, “There is always enough”.

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avatar Steve

I don’t recall anyone sitting me down and explaining how money/finances work but my folks set some powerful examples. They worked hard, saved, and watched their budget closely. My brother and I were required to handle more and more of our personal expenses as we got older — car insurance, gas, clothes, etc. which meant I had to get a job if I wanted to have any fun. This forced me to be disciplined with money, even though I’m a natural spendthrift. It was a great education the prepared me for the real world.

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avatar Laura

My immediate family had a huge positive influence on the way that I handle money today. For one my mother is a master bargain-hunter and hates to pay full price for anything. They buy a lot from garage sales and as a child almost all of my toys and clothes were from garage sales even though we could have afforded better ones. Now that I’m an adult I talk about finances with my family regularly, it’s great to have that feedback and open communication.

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avatar fivecentnickel.com

I was taught very little directly, but I learned a lot by example. Probably the buggest thing was a general sense of frugality and conservative spending. One direct lesson that I remember my dad teaching me as a kid in the toy aisle was that if there was something I was just dying to buy, I should wait a week and see if I still want it. If so, buy it. If not, then (obviously) skip it and move on.

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avatar Michael

The only time my parents talked openly about money was to tell us that we didn’t have any.

I remember nothing from my Kid-dom so vividly as the mountain of bills and receipts that decorated our kitchen table every other Saturday or Sunday, when Mom sat down to pay the bills.

Looking back, it’s not tough to see that money was an ordeal for them. And it likely brought on many other problems.

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avatar ChippingAway

Well, to be brief. I grew up lower middle class, so being somewhat thrifty/frugal was instilled upon me at a reasonably young age. nobody explicitly taught me how to manage my money (though I’m starting to think that making a point to TEACH kids this sort of thing), i definately had good role models. Seeing early on how to have fun without spending tons of money has made a huge impact in my life, as well as being taught by example that it’s ok not to need name brands, etc… Learning that you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses early on, makes a huge difference later.

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avatar Jason

Well, most of the teaching I received was by examples of what not to do. Sadly, most of my family was pretty bad when it came to money. The majority lived above their means instead of saving, kept credit card balances, didn’t put away money for retirement etc.

My step father was probably the best influence financially to me. Even though he(nor anyone else for that matter) never discussed finances with me, it was easy to see that he was extremely frugal and always saved and planned for the future. I remember when I was younger and hearing about saving him wanting to put more money into cds which confused me as the only cds I knew of were the music variety :)

I do think that growing up in a middle to lower class background is normally good for teaching people that you can’t have everything and you have to make priorities. But some of that goes out the window when your parents splurge on you every christmas and birthday.

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avatar udandi

Seeing how my mom handled money and that she does not buy anything unless she can pay for it today. she sewed our clothes, made all our meals and worked overtime to save for a family treat, like getting pizza (a big deal for us).

as kids, we earned an allowance for completed chorese and like blaine if we were to make a silly purchase, she would ask us if it was what we really wanted to do or would we rather save the money toward something else. I always saved, but my siblings thought money would burn a hole in their pockets!

by the way, flexo, I’m glad you increased the font size on the posted comments!

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avatar Amy

The biggest thing I remember from when I was little was my grandfather who used to give me money for little things like getting him a drink or having lunch with him, I think it was his way of leaving me money without putting me into his will. (I’ll probably do this for my grandkids one day too)

A big memory I have is that my grandfather really taught me the importance of saving money. I can remember at a young age probably about 10 or 11 years old and my grandfather gave me $100 to open up my very own savings account. One bank actually rejected me saying that kids don’t know how to save money. We ended up going to a bank where we knew someone to open up the account. I still have my account to this day. I guess a kid is able to learn the value of saving money.

When I was little I didn’t like spending my money, I think that had to do with realizing that my parents didn’t have much money and that they were struggling. So I guess they taught me not to just go out and buy what I wanted when I wanted and to be sure I really wanted it before making a purchase.

I’m better now about spending money on things now because I know what I can afford and I know that some things are important for you do or spend money on. I remember talking to my mom about the fact that she was upset that it wasn’t until I was around 12 years old before we went on a real family vacation and that if she had to do it all over again she would have made sure that we did more vacations together and not being so concerned about money.

So I guess I learned a lot about money management from my family from a very young age.

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avatar Adam

My parents always taught me that any kind of debt was bad – whether it was cc debt, car loan, house, etc. They were a little old fashioned in this respect. However, financial responsibility is something that will never go out of style.

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avatar alex

My parents did a pretty good job teaching me how to manage my money. From the time I was 6 they would give me an allowance once a week. I was responsible for buying my own food, clothes, toys, etc. This is pretty extreme but did a good job teaching me about opportunity cost.

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avatar JLP at AllFinancialMatters

I don’t fault my parents, but they weren’t the best examples of how to manage money because they didn’t communicate. My dad had unrealistic expectations, which led to lots of problems.

My wife and I are doing things much differently.

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avatar Miguel

I grew up in a struggling single-parent household where I was acutely aware that we did not have much money, could barely afford rent, food, and clothing, and where we were constantly in crisis. When I was encouraged to save a little money from my sporadic allowance, it either got borrowed (and never repaid), or mysteriously disappeared from the piggy bank. During this time, I was extremely aware of all the material things we coveted, but could not have. My mom had no sense of saving and generally spent every penny she had (even as her income and prospects improved). The areas we lived in had folks in similar dire circumstances. One thing they did do was look out for each other. If a homeless family was left out in the soaking rain, we would take them in, give them clothes, food, share what we had. People would look out for each others kids, would loan each other emergency money, and would form a sort of safety net. Money was for sharing and spending, not keeping. To “horde” money by saving it was to be stingy.

I learned a lot of things growing up, but frugality, saving, and delayed gratification were not among them. What I did learn, was a lot of street smarts – how to navigate difficult, even dangerous situations. I also learned a lot about charity and how poor people get by and help each other. I also learned a lot about how unfair life can be and how poor people often get abused and taken advantage of. What I learned above all, was that I was willing to work extremely hard to get out of those circumstances. Being poor has no romance or nostalgia for me.

I used education, hard work, and a willingness to take some risks as my conduit to a different life. And I learned how to be an economically productive adult. In terms of money lessons, I fortunately have my wife and her family as excellent guides to help me overcome some of the money lessons of my childhood. They are a study in living below your means and have had a profound impact on how I view money and spending. This is not to say that I don’t appreciate the many things my mom was able to teach me – just that money lessons was not one of them.

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avatar Penny Nickel

Good question, and something I’ve been meaning to blog about.

We never talked too much about money directly when I was a kid, but some things I picked up from my parents were:

1) If you really want something, you can find a way to afford it. As a kid, I knew that although I couldn’t have everything we wanted, if there were things I really wanted, the family would make it happen financially. Things like vacations (not lavish ones, but not super-cheap, either) were important to us as a family so we took them every year. I never felt rich, and we weren’t, but I saw money as a tool my parents always seemed able to manage to help us do what we most wanted to do. (In retrospect, I know that some of the trade-offs included things like not saving enough for their retirement.)

2) If you really want something, you have to work to make it happen. For example, when I was 12 and fell in love with horses, my parents told me they’d pay for only two riding lessons a month. Either I could be satisfied with that, or pay for the rest myself. I worked in the stables, got a paper route, and babysat– and I got my weekly riding lessons.

3) Spending money to impress other people is silly and wasteful. My family was very down-to-earth on this front, not much emphasis on status symbols or conspicuous consumption, and as a result I (thankfully) have no comprehension of how people can spend so much money on things because they’re brand names or trendy.

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avatar claire

My mother’s attitude toward money:
“Let go and let God”, i.e., trust that everything will work out and it will.

My father’s attitude:
“I work very hard, and I deserve to enjoy myself with the money I earn.”

My older sister’s attitude:
“Live below your means, start saving early, and don’t increase your spending just because your earnings have increased.”

My parents have been valuable examples of what NOT to do. My sister has been an example of what TO do. I am thankful to all three of them for the lessons I’ve learned.

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avatar Terry

I do not remember money lessons – nothing about allowances, big family purchases, saving, giving, spending, debt, mortgages. We were proably in the mid to lower middle class. And now I am a really good money manager. It’s sTrAnGe now when I think about it. Must have been one of those osmosis things.

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avatar Financial Freedumb

My mom used to deposit money into my savings every week. A “bank man” would come by and take deposits. She didn’t tell me much, but just watching and eventually figuring out what was going on, I think, triggered my saving habit subconsciously.

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avatar Arif K

People first, then money, then things …..

Money is important but it is not worth sacrificing relationships. Live life to the fullest (that means enjoy life while saving for the rainy day), that requires change of attitude and one’s outlook towards life.

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avatar Amanda

My parent’s helped me open up a savings account when I was just 12. My Dad deposited $20/week to the account on my behalf, which came out of my allowance money. As I went through HS and started working, I kept adding more.
This not only taught me how easy it is to save, but also that it is an essential part of a person’s financial plan. Saving shouldn’t be an afterthought.
My parent’s also impressed that giving – whether in the monetary sense or with your body/time – was essential as well.

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avatar Megan

I was taught that things I have cost money. When I was little, I let the bike my parents bought me sit in the rain and get rusty. They made me save for my next one, teaching me fiscal responsibility and regular responsibility. They took me to open my own bank acccount and made me fill out my financial aid papers for college with them.

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avatar Foobarista

My parents had a fairly turbulent life, and while they were wonderful in many things, they were only marginally skilled at handling money. They did do a few things that turned out well, like buying investment property, and did fund their retirement accounts.

I learned far more about daily money handling “philosophy” from the numerous Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants that lived in our neighborhood. They could squeeze blood from a stone, saved every penny, weren’t afraid to find bargains anywhere and everywhere, and worked their tails off. Asian friends say I’m far more “Asian” in my approach to money than other white Americans they know.

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avatar Tim

I grew up fairly poor so I learned to value money and get by without a whole lot. The ability to live on a small budget helps me keep costs down. With rent and everything else my monthly expenses are around $800-900. That’s not bad considering what most of my peers are faced with. Oh, and I’m debt free. That’s a big thing my Mom taught me.

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avatar edenz

While they never sat down and talked to me about money, they did teach me many important things
1) the difference between wants and needs
2) the importance of saving – I opened my first savings acct with my first communion money in second grade and saved at least half of any money I made or was given
3) the value of hard work – my parents didn’t believe in allowances. They paid for the necessities of life (clothes, etc) and a few fun things while I was young, but as soon as I could work (10 at my dad’s shop) I had use my own mony for fun things and I quickly learned to figure out the cost of things in ‘hours’
4) how to live frugally. My father owns his own business and my parents were never poor but they never lived above their means – expensive things (like dinner out at a restaurant) always remained treats
5) how to cook, sew, basic home maintenance. I didn’t realize how valuable this was until I started working full time – it’s amazing how many of our friends and neighbors (even the elderly ones) who are forced to spend money to fix a seam or build a porch.

This was a great question!

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avatar Jane

I always felt like a deprived child, because my parents didn’t take us on fabulous vacations. They didn’t drive fancy cars and we had jobs to get those fancy labels on our jeans. I was always jealous of my friends whose parents were spenders. UNTIL… it came time for college. My friends all worked a lot through college and took out loans. I was lucky enough that my parents had made me save my birthday/Christmas money as a child and were also able to pay most of my education expenses.

I learned a lot about priorities in spending. My nieces and nephew always get a check from me that goes straight to their 529 accounts.

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avatar b.

eventho my mother weas/is good at frittering away $ regularly on ‘sales’ and ‘good deals’ etc, my parents saved really well. we lived like lower middle class i guess (never went anywhere far, nor on any real vacations, had inexpensive cars, only moved once in my childhood, etc) and that surely helped. i know they paid cash for things like vehicles and paid off the house as soon as they could. unfortunately, they didn’t discuss the ins and outs of $ much at all, apart from complaining about what things costs and that ‘we don’t have $ for that”….etc etc. they never told us what their income was (only dad worked) and what things cost, like the mortgage, electricity. so there was still a lot of mystery about the whole thing. also, they always had their own ideas on how to do things and wouldn’t take advice from anyone. i didn’t understand how other family members lived so much better and how my parents were really set in their ways and ideas and closed to most other things.

i think positively, it affected me in that my part time 3 to 4 hr a week minimum wage job in high school enabled me to escape (all was not good on the home front; abuse). i saved most of my income and temped the summer after i turned 18 and managed to save $500 total which i used that september to move far, far away to san francisco by the seat of my pants (yes, it was a success). but you know what? most of this savings acheivement was simply from being unbelievably mostivated to exit that house and never look back. feelings i intensely had since extremely young.

negatively, i feel their own unrealisticness (which is not all explained here…) and not sharing of what actually was real (concrete figures of living costs for instance! how rationed out, percentages of what went to where etc) both made me a bit unrealistic i found in being able to get the things and security i still am trying to achieve, over a decade later. or feeling like i could. it’s been elusive.
also, not having a degree i think has hampered me terribly in my earnings over the years. i have loads of experience and clear talents, but i find a double standard out there when i am trying to get better (or even sideways) positions. my parents never thought a degree was that important (neither had more than trade school) and they would not have helped anyway (not that i don’t understand part of why, but not possible to type the whole story here). i have been in survival mode most of my adult life. yes, i do have an emergency fund these days and am grateful to be able to support myself.

one more thing, since the clothing budget was basically unrealistic (ex: in high school nearly impossible for me to get items in mother’s price range, even on sale. my cousin’s hand me downs were heaven sent when i was young, clothes i never would have had otherwise) i have strong urges to buy clothing i like and i feel i spend too much on clothes and accessories, impulsively i think. it’s gotten harder to control since i got out of debt a few years ago. i am not sure if this is from the childhood environment or would have been my thing anyway….? but i can’t help but think of that history.

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avatar Miguel

Just want to say all the posts on this question have been extraordinarily insightful and fascinating to read.

By way of prologue to my earlier post, I described my childhood memories of money-related issues, but didn’t have time to finish. As to the question of how has it factored into my life now, that is an interesting question to explore.

As a young adult from college thru late 20′s, I got into a lot of typical credit card problems – too much consumption, too much keeping up with peers, too little income, too little understanding of how to handle my money. The upside was that I was willing to work hard – actually extremely hard – to earn money. I was ambitious, but took a few detours along the way (long story). I think part of what was driving all this were the lessons of childhood – that living hand to mouth is normal, that spending on expensive clothes, toys, etc. was just reward for hard work, and that CC debt was good because it allowed you to have things you wouldn’t otherwise have. Basically, I was going nowhere fast when it came to money. The more I made, the faster I spent it.

Then it all kinda crashed and burned. An unexpected bout of unemployment taught me that having some emergency savings might not be a bad idea and showed me that CC companies can get downright nasty if they don’t get paid. That at least provided a bit of a wake-up call.

And then I met my soon to be wife. Someone who had grown up under entirely different circumstances. Someone from a traditional, middle class, family, with a Dad who worked at a big corporation and a banker for a mom. She found my spending habits to be somewhat appalling and undertook a financial triage on my finances – and I was happy to let her do so. Sure, occaissionally, I’d throw a tantrum when I was informed there was something I could not have, but firm in her resolve to reform me, she was.

And her parents were such an wonderful example – people who could well afford certain things but simply did not see the need to keep up with the Jones. People who paid cash for big-ticket items like cars and even a condo. People who would go so far as to purchase a car without airconditioning just to save a few hundred bucks (okay this was going too far). This was a concept it took me a very long time to understand. To me, they were like aliens from outer space.

In time, my wife and I became a coordinated team. I’m very good at making the money. She’s very good at saving the money.

While I didn’t learn the things I needed to from childhood, I at least had the good sense to find somebody I could learn from. So, yes, things have turned out pretty good.

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avatar NCN

My parents locked me in a room, turned out the lights, and screamed for hours and hours about zero-percent balance transfers, home equity loans, while slashing my skin with the sharpened edges of their credit cards…
And thus, No Credit Needed was born, in the darkness, in the middle of the horrible screams, and through the pain of the plastic, cutting my flesh…

Just kidding…

My parents always gave us enough. We were blessed, but, like most families, we used credit too much, and too often. So, I had to learn, the hard way, about the dangers of debt.

Great, great question!

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avatar Jonathan

My parents taught mostly by giving us boundaries. I never got a Nintendo, and didn’t get many luxuries. Now that they have more money they’ve loosened up a bit, but it’s too late – I’m just a simple guy that doesn’t even like most luxuries :)

Give me good simple food, a t-shirt, jeans, and a dog and I’m happy.

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avatar Cindy

Like many of the previous posters, I don’t recall my parents ever having a conversation with me about money and financial management. As one of five kids, learning was more “trial by fire”. Having grown up in an era before credit cards, McDonalds and technology, perhaps it was easier then to resist temptations. I do, however, recall a few key events that helped shape my current thinking toward money:

- For several years during grade school, my family qualified for free lunches (there is/was such a thing!). I distinctly remember feeling “poor”, and not wanting to feel that way.

- We were given chores (e.g., cleaning, dishes, food prep) from an early age (7 or so), but no allowance. I think this helped me develop discipline.

- Growing up in a large and highly-competitive household, I learned that it was better to be in a position of “having” vs. “not having”. Easy way for me to one-up my siblings.

- We were free to spend our lunch money however we chose (frequent alternate purchases included candy, ice cream and lip gloss), thus learning the all-important lesson of choice.

- When my 2-week old Christmas bike got stolen, my parents did not replace it.

- After I had saved up $100 of babysitting earnings, my parents matched it so I could fly across the country to visit relatives. This was a BIG DEAL because we didn’t take family vacations.

Interestingly, even though we all grew up in the same household with the same parents and same life lessons, my siblings all have vastly different ways of dealing with their money. I still don’t quite get that!

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avatar finance girl

I learned by watching my Dad’s neuroses with regards to money. He never spent money on anything or anyone, to an extreme. He put money in front of people. But beyond that, I have always had a knack for financial numbers (since high school) and it just comes naturally to me. I had some hard lessons to learn but did so pretty early.

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avatar empty spaces

my mom once made walk half a mile back to the store coz i had dropped a penny when I was 10. it wasn’t that we needed the money, but i never lost any money ever again!

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avatar Paul Finkbeiner

I was the youngest of 4 boys. My father was a pastor of a small church in Idaho. My mother never bought any clothes new. We always shopped at the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Today I am writing this email wearing a pair of name brand pants I paid $1.00 for at a Senior’s 2nd hand clothing center. I never pass a “Second Hand store” This is 65 years later!

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avatar Jason

I think it goes back to my grandparents. They were both from upper-middle class families and were pretty well-to-do. My grandfather was born in 1900 and died before I got a chance to know him, but from what I can tell, he was a traditionalist. Men made and handled the money, and women didn’t. My grandmother was born in 1914 and was in her teens and 20′s during the great depression, so she had the frugality that came with that, but she also was a traditionalist in the sense that she considered talking about money to be “lower-class” and also thought that money was more the domain of the man. For both of them, money was something that was simply not discussed with children.

So my grandparents had a good financial background, were good at saving, made wise investments, and had more than enough to carry them comfortably through their retirement and still have something left to pass on. The problem was, they had 5 daughters and taught them NOTHING about money. My mom and aunts are all broke all the time, or claim to be. They all constantly worry about money. One married well (from a financial standpoint) but still worries about money because of her sisters. Two others have stable jobs that will provide a little for them in their retirement, but no savings. The other two have no savings at all and no way to retire, although they’re at retirement age.

My mom’s one of the last two. When I was growing up, she was constantly worried about money, felt that it controlled her, was always stressed. Today, she’s making 68K a year and feels the same way, and still has almost nothing saved for retirement. She’ll save a few thousand dollars, then find something so important that she has to have or do with that money that she’ll blow it. She simply cannot live more than a few steps above zero, and she loves expensive things. If she gets ahead, she feels strange and finds a way to go back to a level of comforting stress. And guess what? I turned out the same way. Ten years since I first figured out that saving would be a good thing, I still can’t make myself do it. Unlike her, I was able to get out of debt for a few years, but then I went back to school–a private school, of course, because it would have been financially prudent NOT to go to a private school–and now I’m deep in debt for my education.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel–I’ve learned the value of saving and proper investing and I think once I’m out of school I’ll have a knack for making money. I just have to focus on controlling my spending, learning delayed gratification, forcing myself to save first and spend later, and the other basics. I can recognize my bad behavior when it happens (something my mom and aunts haven’t learned) and I’m financially literate. I just need to join (or start) a Spender’s Anonymous group.

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avatar Jason

So it turns out that if you put hyphens on either side of a phrase, you get a strikeout, -like this-. oops!

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avatar fahren

Nothing. They fought like cats and dogs over money and to this day have never saved a dime. What little I know I’ve learned from books and advice from trusted friends.

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avatar MsMiniducky

I learned how to forge checks, pay bills, work hard and not how to watch my spending or budget. Just kidding, I only mostly forged them, I usually left the dates blank.

I actually learned that debt and paying interest to other people is horrible and that I don’t ever want to do that: from BroDucky.

From PadresDuckies, I have this curious blind spot of not having learned anything BAD in particular. Helping them financially now just reinforces the lessons I learned while BroDucky scorched-earth campaigned his way into every sort of debt possible, except educational. Figures.

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avatar King of Debt

My parents really didn’t provide any sort of education, but indirectly they taught me that it was okay to buy anything you wanted with no thought to the actual consequences of such rash purchases.

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avatar Kevin

The 2 people that really sat me down was my grandma and my dad.

My grandma taught me to never turn down money. This was taught to me after my grandpa had already paid me for mowing their yard and she tried to sweeten my reward.

My dad owns his own farm and I was an employee. He made me save/invest 50% of my earnings that were paid out before I went back to school in the fall and 50% would be my spending money the rest of the school year. At the time I was in junior high and high school so my monetary demands were not significant.

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avatar John

My mom and dad taught me that saving money was important by opening up a savings account for me. I remember that I got it up to $35.00 once. After that, I don’t know what happened to it… probably it was liquidated and put into something else.

I remember that I would go to the bank and make deposits semi-regularly … these were small deposits, but me and my dad would go to the bank teller and put the money I saved into the account.

Today, I still value money and am not wasteful in spending it. I’ll think twice about making a purchase and not be frivoulous with the spending. I attribute this behaviour to the earlier lessons learned by my parents.

Thanks Mom & Dad!!

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avatar Brian

When my Dad lost his job as a truck driver (during the trucking deregulation of the 1980′s), I didn’t learn so much a lesson about personal money management, but I did learn that I never, ever, ever wanted to be poor again. It was hard not having anything, and I doubt I’ll ever forget. I haven’t been without a job for more than a month since I was sixteen, so parts of that lesson are still sticking.

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avatar Carlos

From my parents I learned:

Mother: One saves and doesn’t spend on unnnecesary items. Most things classify as unnecesary, even food (I was anorexic for 30 years). Money saved will help some family member purchase home or start a business.

father: Money is the crime of a capitalist state and one needs it only if it will be applied for a higher end, such as helping children in need.

Today I get major guilt trips if I purchase anything personal, a problem I avoid with internet shopping and credit card. And since I don’t intend on saving the world or saving money for someone else (am single no kids), will get many guilt trips on Amazon.

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avatar mbhunter

1) Spend less than you earn.
2) Componding works wonders.
3) Pay your credit card balance in full each month.

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avatar Justine Kaley

I was taught no matter how much money you have several things come first Savings, Church, Charity nothing else matters but those three items. My mom was very dedicated to teaching us these three items she also was dedicated to teaching us to get more for our money, to buy items that you know will last, find the cheapest but the best products out there, to give, give, give never ask to recieve you will recieve when the time is right for you to recieve whatever it is your getting. Giving was also number one on her list.

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avatar AM

I was born in a third world country in a lower middle class family (poor by any reasonabe western definition). I wore hand downs, read from hand down books, didn’t have any allowance in my childhood, we didn’t own a TV or any furniture till I was in high school etc.

My parents never made me feel poor though (thanks Mom, Dad!) and it was only when I was in my late teens that I figured out we were poor.

My education came indirectly though:

-Dad told me one day that if I didn’t make it on my own, he can’t help me with a penny.

-I saw my parents walk for a couple of miles with their grocery shopping in blazing sun so they could buy it cheap and save on cab money.

-Yet they saved enough to buy a house and make a good retirement.

Today my wife and I make more than enough to afford anything we can dream of an then spare some, but we save about 2/3rd of our income, invest like hell and spend on nothing which is not necessary.

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avatar James

Buy good stuff. Take care of it and get every once of usage out of it (and then let it accumulate in the basament/garage/wherever). Pay your bills. Checks/Credit Cards are NOT money. Be generous, give to charity.

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avatar Lazy Man and Money

My mom had a subscription to Kiplinger’s Finance and I would read it from cover to cover. We’d talk about things in it, and I’d even help her pick mutual funds. At the age of 13, I would say that I was ahead of my peers in this respect. It lead to me investing myself in some mutual funds in high school.

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avatar SCapitalist

I have been interested in money from a young age. My parents had two contrasting views towards money. My mother was the “saver”. Her advice was to save money, she is mostly a 401k investor. My father is horrible with money. Money seems to burn a hole in his pocket. In my later teen years seeing what he has built for himself, (or lack there of…) only motivated me to learn more about personal finance.

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avatar Lazy Man and Money

I was taught very directly to save and ask myself if I really want to make that purchase, because it meant a sacrifice in something else that I may want down the line.

I also was included into the decision making about mutual funds because, even though I 14, I was better at math than my parents and they trusted me more with the numbers. This lead to me to invest in my own mutual funds, putting $50 a month away.

You could say that I’ve been very well brought with regard to finances.

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avatar bill

I remember when I was a teen, my mother helping me set up a passbook savings account at a local S & L. I developed the habit of putting a certain amount of my weekly check into it, a habit I still have today. I think the measure of financial security I have today is directly attributable to this.

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