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I've always been curious about this, especially from communities of people who are interested in financial health. How much did you learn about money/finances from your family or how you were raised?

In my life, I learned very little from my family in the financial sense. We were middle class to lower middle class. It wasn't poverty, but we had our struggles. I watched my parents with their money and only learned about flaky or frivolous spending habits. My dad would buy cars all the time, sometimes 2 a month, then fix them and sell them. Sure he'd make some profit but it wasn't sustainable. Once I got a job of my own, I spent similar to how my parents did. It was on a smaller scale, but I would buy things I didn't need, forget about them, sell them for less than I spent, and start over again.

My adult life has been a struggle of breaking this cycle. Living paycheck to paycheck shouldn't be my normal. I've learned so much about being financially healthy and I know all the things to do, but I still feel stuck sometimes. Though for about a year I haven't made more than 1 or 2 frivolous purchases, I still find myself waiting for the next paycheck to come while holding my breath. I don't blame my parents, but it definitely makes me wonder about what message I would be passing down when I have a family.

Original Post

I didn't have any 'formal' money instruction when I was younger. We had stable housing, and dad always had a decent FT job (mechanic); money was tight but to my knowledge, bills got paid. I now know that my parents always had credit card debt and my dad continues to work in his 70's. 

I have made plenty of money mistakes, and now I have two children of my own. I want to pass on better money habits than what I had when I was younger. I am very aware of how I speak about money, and how I budget my money. I speak openly about it at home. I want them to have realistic ideas about how much life costs, and how to prioritize needs over wants. 

I wish I had focused on saving more when I was younger. I would like to be in a more secure place than where I am right now. 

@KellyFromKeene

I agree completely! I've even had strange dreams a few years back where I was thrown back in time- and the #1 thing to do was make sure I opened a savings account.

Talking openly about things is really smart and important. I should do that more, but I'm worried my debts overwhelm my spouse. My spouse grew up with very little money and went through a lot of hard times, but also managed to not have any debts. They are never upset or negative about money when I do talk about it- it's just breaking myself out of the habit of thinking it's a huge taboo. Which is another thing I observed from my childhood.

Growing up, I wasn't taught specifically about finances. But my Dad handled the family finance pretty well despite not having much. Even when we didn't have much, my dad always saved and invested and we always had something to eat for the most part.

My parent were not in debt, they paid for their first house in cash and my Dad's only car loan was paid off not long after I was born.

While I had a good foundation, there were some lessons I had to learn the hard way and I think that is because although I observed my parents handle their finances well, I never really learned about handling finances. Looking back, there are so many thing I wish I had been taught that would have saved me a lot of money in my early days being outside the home.

One good book that talks a lot about the emotional aspect of money is Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. (Worth the Read!)

It talks about your "success blueprint" and how it can be molded by experiences from your childhood and observing your parents.

One of the Wealth Principles taken directly from the book is:

When the subconscious mind must choose between deeply rooted emotions and logic, emotions will always win. (pg 22)

The mind definitely plays a huge part in our financial lives!

I grew up in Mississippi. My mom pretty much handled the finances in our house. She was a teacher and librarian, and my dad worked worked in a packing house (but he's the one who taught me how to balance a checkbook, how to count back change, how to read a map, cooking, gardening, the list goes on). I think teachers are pretty organized as a whole, making lists, checking them twice LoL. I learned about finances pretty much by watching, being sent to pay households with checks. Then, you mostly went to actual locations and paid your bills. Also, when I got my first job between high school and college (I was 16), she had me divide up my money, open a savings account at a local bank so I could put savings toward my personal expenses in college. She also made me purchase a stockpile of personal items to take with me that wound up lasting me the entire year! She also made sure I got on the work study program at my college before I even started. The following summer, I worked and had to buy personal items for my sister who was joining me at that same college.

When I got my first apartment in Detroit, she helped me figure out what I could afford and helped me budget. Even after watching/learning from her, I made plenty of mistakes later by taking on too much credit, etc. She told me to get a second job and I did, get credit counseling and I did. I found that most of my mistakes have been that when my income would rise, my spending would rise also. You have to live lower than your expenses has been my biggest lesson.

I love reading how other people learned how to handle finances.

According to my parents and older siblings you could've called me a money hoarder. I did jobs around the house at 4 to earn money. My mom was a saver, but my mom always had trouble  with my dad. They ran a business until he retired. Out of the 3 of us, my mom  said I am the  best at saving,  then my brother, and my sister  use to be okay at it but not good over the years. I guess I remember  always afraid of being broke. I cried when my mom took my money to the bank (age 4)until I  understood the bank. I had a savings since  I was really little, got checking  at 17-18, had mutual  funds when my parents set them up.  I worked for Edward Jones Financial  firm (where  my funds were at) and learned a lot more about retirement, that I knew just enough on. I bought my first  house before I got married with an 810 credit score. My husband wasn't a great saver or had great credit. He's  learned little by little and we are getting ready to buy our new home after our  current sells. With his credit now 800, and I'm a stay at home mom so I worked on his credit. He also now has investment too. My 3 year old has a savings  with any money he receives, I keep 30 and move any money into his investment custodial account. I am not a fan of 529 college savings for many reasons. Our 2nd son due in beg of December  will be set up the same way. I will work with our kids more  because I can't expect they will think like me. My mom taught us the meaning  of money and why to save. My trick  when I was out with  friends to even  now: do i need it or do I just want it? If I want it, it goes back. My friends  and I would go to the mall, we'd  all have 20 bucks, I'd come out with 18, or sometimes  20...they'd spent all their money. My mom told me her mother  thought similar  as me, as when she was young she'd worry on who'd  buy her clothes. My advice is to talk to a financial  advisor, they give you a reality  check, they can  guide  your 401k and run a retirement report to see how much you have to save to be at your goal. If you don't  have a 401k at work get a Roth or IRA, it can  be uses on your  taxes, if you  have extra money past the 5500/6500 (age depending) limit you can open a joint/individual mutual fund account.

I think perhaps I am older than some here. Dad graduated from HS at the height of the Great Depression and modeled extreme frugality throughout his life.  Accurring considerable vacation time from one job,he used it to work a temporary second job ! He taught me to always save 10% of my pay but also to weigh my choices. He often said most important thing is to like your job or your life would be miserable. My husband and I retired with amply funds to travel and enjoy life after a pleasant working life - thanks Dad.

@Katie Pellicano Leslie

I wish I had been introduced to savings and investing younger. I honestly didn't even know savings accounts could build through APY until after I graduated college. The most I was ever really taught was through a high school accounting class that was so horribly dull and the curriculum was lazy. (Literally only taught us how to use a calculator attached to a printer and to add and subtract columns!)

I think it's awesome you were able to learn all of this from your family! And passing it down to your own family is also amazing.

Both my parents taught me how to budget and save. From a young age, I would keep any money I found, save my allowance and any extra money that my grandparents would just hand out randomly if they saw me, $10 to $20.00. I felt rich and I was very careful with it and spent it on things that meant something to me, like a doll I really wanted when I was 8. It was so satisfying to be able to pay for it myself. Me and my friends had a little girls' club and I was the treasurer, lol. That's how seriously I took money back then. When my husband and I started our business, we quickly became upper middle class, and even though we never lived outside our means, we spent all our means or a little less, just got caught up in the whole trappings of middle class life. When the Recession came and changed all of that and took most everything away, we refocused and went back to the simple way of life my parents had. And its so much better now. Nice modest house, paid off cars, no debt and travel. Thanks mom and dad for setting me up to enjoy my life now rather than waiting another 25 years to start enjoying it.

@sthom

Oh, very good point about increasing spending when income increases- I'm definitely guilty of this! I used to work mostly part-time at a bookstore for minimum wage. Then I got a full time job with double the pay. I keep thinking to myself that I have a good job, finally bought my house, and am on to the next step to start a family- I should have nice things, right? Sadly I still have student loans, didn't plan for a $200 increase from a mortgage, and high interest rates on credit cards that I'm falling behind with. (Still making minimum payments, but that SUCKS when interest basically negates it.)

I think my father kind of did the same- he got a very nice job with more money than he had before and so he just started spending. He grew up with very little, so it's like he was compensating. (At least from my perspective, it's possible.)

Like you, I came from a lower class family... my dad worked in a steel mill and mom stayed home. Both were children of the 1930's. At the time we were probably considered poor, but didn't know it. Thanks to the 'you only spend what you earn' mentality of both parents, I learned how to save from a young age. All three of us kids had savings accounts through school (mom would send us with a quarter or fifty-cents as she had it). If I wanted something beyond the necessities provided by my parents, I saved for it.

We were also given allowances, but we worked for it. The boys did yard work and helped my father renovate the house, and I helped with the traditional inside work... cleaning, mostly, sometimes cooking. It taught us the value of working and earning.

I first started working when I turned 16... summers working the kitchen of a nursing home... and have been working ever since. There's not been a single time in the last 40 years when I didn't work, even though my area has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. I put myself through college, too, and spent 10 years paying off my student loans.

My husband, on the other hand, grew up in the same town and similar family situation, but he NEVER had money so when we got married and realized I was the saver, he was pretty free with opening as many credit cards as possible and running up the debt, until I opened my own savings account with direct deposit through work and took over the bill paying. Eventually I taught him the value of saving as opposed to using credit. Now, we're in our mid-50s, have a house that's paid for, no debt (he doesn't have any credit cards), and a very sizeable nest egg. He retired at 57 and I'll retire in a few years at 60.

To parents who are teaching your kids how to save: big kudos to you! They'll thank you for it the rest of their lives.

I grew up Working class. We were fine at first my mother worked at a bank and my father worked in the auto industry. When they divorced we fell into the lower class and we were just making ends meet. My father stopped working to avoid child support. SMH  My mother taught me how to budget and live within your means.  She taught me how to save to buy things we wanted but not to save for the long term.  We used credit for emergencies and took a long time to pay it back.  I am trying to teach my nephews how to save and spend wisely.

We grew up in Brooklyn, NY. I do not recall finances as we grew up. No credit cards, mortgages or car loans. Although my father worked, we were the working class poor. Dad handled the money and my mom took care of the savings and check writing. We did not have an allowance or knew how to do anything with finances since we never were taught what does it entail. Whatever we learned was when we left home. Each of us have our own system, but practically live paycheck to paycheck. I have done a lot of reading and learning how to manage my finances, but I still have a long way to go. Nonetheless, we do not handle our finances like our parents, so that is a good thing.

MountainFan posted:

@Katie Pellicano Leslie

I wish I had been introduced to savings and investing younger. I honestly didn't even know savings accounts could build through APY until after I graduated college. The most I was ever really taught was through a high school accounting class that was so horribly dull and the curriculum was lazy. (Literally only taught us how to use a calculator attached to a printer and to add and subtract columns!)

I think it's awesome you were able to learn all of this from your family! And passing it down to your own family is also amazing.

I tried talking some of my friends into it over the years. One was an okay saver, her and I would compete with who had more saved. My older  brother  and I had that as well into our 20s. We grew up in middle upper class.

 

At least you  can keep working at it. If you can, advisor! Edward jones had great programs to help save and give advice. I remember before I worked  at edj, I worked  at a hospital. Some of the girls came with questions  to me. My coworker took the idea of every raise she got she applied  to her 401k and lived within her means. Which is how we were taught. Live within your  means and you  will always  be comfortable. :-)

Great Question! Like previous responses, my parents didn't sit us down and teach finances formally, but I did learn how to write checks, the importance of saving, and paying bills when due. I describe myself as thrifty while my husband would probably chose the adjective "anal".LOL  His family's attitude towards money was different from mine, but we're working on meeting in the middle. Did I read somewhere that some school systems are going to start teaching money management courses?

@Brigat

I also heard some schools are deciding to add a personal finance class for high schools. I'm a little unsure about it, but that's more because I had to deal with poor examples just during my school years. (Again, had an accounting class that seriously only taught us to use those calculators that print, and adding and subtracting columns.)

My spouse definitely sees me as a similar adjective with money. I'm the main income for our house, but I always want it to be more even. My spouse had money problems growing up and I think that attributes a lot to the attitude. Neither of us are huge spenders, but with my attention issues, sometimes we get into a tight spot. I'm hoping we can also compromise and meet in the middle with things.

@Annette V.

I can totally relate. The first time I remember my parents talking about a credit card was when I was like 21. They had paid off the balance but said something like "if you don't have fun now, you'll just be older and wishing you did." It was confusing to me. I opened my first credit card in college and did phenomenal with it for the first three months- because I forgot I had it!

Reading up on finances is really enjoyable to me, but I tend to get stuck in a rut of just reading, never doing. Procrastination should be my middle name, I think. But I'm definitely tired of paycheck to paycheck cycles so I'm going to try my best to break it. I plan on trying a no-spend week soon. Just have to get the spouse on board. I'm definitely glad not to handle my finances the exact same as my parents. I'll keep the good they did and ignore the rest.

There is definitely a lot to be learned from other people's perspectives on finances. I am enjoying reading everyone's stories.

Living below your means is definitely something that seems to go against the norms of society. Most of us grow up in a culture that is pushing us to constantly spend more than we earn and that prices things in "payments" rather than the actual cost.

With the economy in the shape it is in, I am afraid many people are in for a rude awakening.

For most of my life my family was always below the poverty line. My dad was the only income source but things got rough when he got laid off in my teens. All they ever taught me was to only use cash and to try to never be in debt to anything or anybody. Neither had gone to college and retirement was more a fantasy than an actual goal. 

Now I have a daughter and I'm trying to teach myself and her the financially healthy traits we BOTH need. I have a budgeting system but I'm not good at it yet but I know each day is more progress than having nothing at all. 

Upside, now my parents are learning with me, my Mom is looking to become a Stasher  

Mountain Fan, I was raised in a large family...I had two brothers still living, a third died six hours after birth and was the twin to the sister we lost to breast cancer in June. I also had three sisters. I was the oldest since, though I do have a brother and sister I've never met from my adoptive father (my mother's second husbands children from his first marriage) and then two brothers and a sister from my biological father's fourth marriage. I lived with my mother and adoptive father, and was three years and six days older than my brother.  My father was a "cobbler" or shoe repairman as most people call them. He was one of the best in the world and had offers from all over from Australia and New Zealand to Hawaii and even in South America. But, we settled in the Midwestern states. As we each grew up, we had work we had to do. I started with mowing lawns, painting and  other things. I also learned part of shoe repair, and also learned how to become an autobody technician. I was also a small business owner in that field. I was always working two jobs. While in high school, I worked at a local steakhouse as a busboy, and would end my shift by 11 PM. I had to be back to start work as a prep cook to get things started for the next person to come in and take over for me. I would leave and drive to the church to catch my bus to a Christian school. During the summers, I worked detassling corn for Summer Brothers Seed Company. I did that for five years during the season, and never had anyone telling me how to invest or split my money except to take 10% to give to the Lord's work. I usually did so. But, after that, instead of us putting our money in the bank, our father required all of us to give him our paychecks. If we needed money for gas or other things, we went to him to get it. I started a checking account one time, and the bank manager called my father and he closed it. That was one reason I worked so many hours at other jobs, so that some of it would be "off the clock" and paid straight to me in cash. My father wasn't a bad man, but he just wasn't good with money or teaching us how to do what we needed to do. It was hard to learn about things when I finally got to be of legal age and had my own business. But, by then, being around the book keeper for our business ( I dated her for a while) I learned a lot about keeping track of certain expenditures and income and taxes.  When my father was dying of cancer he explained that since he had started a business with two others (the largest Western Store in the heart of Illinois) he needed money to help pay for our private education. There were some problems with things being taught in our area schools, and that was the reason for us being removed from the public school system. So, I've learned mostly from the book keeper and trial and error. Wish schools would teach more about finances to kids these days, and wish they'd have done more when I was a youngster.

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