Family and Finance

I was thinking about my parents' mindsets when it comes to finances, and wondering how much it has influenced my own mindset.

For example, my dad was very cheap. The few times we went on vacation I remember he was always grumbling about something. "You want to rent a bike along the beach? And it's going to cost how much?" My mom would eventually convince him it was worth it, but you could tell it took a big toll on her, and it certainly put a damper on the mood.

He never talked to me about his budget, or tried to offer me some insight as to his attitude. When I got older, he never offered me advice, or suggested I get a job. All I heard was "that's WAY too expensive" or "no", and then I would turn to my mom, and she would find a way to say yes (from her part-time job, since her career was in the toilet).

He was ok (up to a point) with spending money on himself; his problem came with spending money on us. I wonder if his attitude stemmed from his resentment of having a child/family before he was ready for it (they were both 24).

My mom, on the other hand, has always been a spender, both on herself and others. She's generous. She likes nice things; she likes vacations. But she also knows how and where to find things at a discount (be it Ross, Marshall's, garage sales). She worked full-time as a professor, when she could. Most of their married life saw us being moved around by my dad as he pursued his career (which obviously took precedence over hers). Her career was disrupted by him, but he was still resentful of having to spend money on her (and to a lesser extent, me).

What was the effect of this on me? I felt a lot of uneasiness around my dad. I found myself constantly disappointed. I certainly wasn't deprived as a child, but to have someone take you to Disneyland and then complain the whole way up to the ticket line and continue the complaints through the park... kind of takes the fun out of it. Why go to begin with? I hated that he was constantly talking about money. I was elated by my mom's opposite attitude. She didn't say yes to everything, but when she did say yes, she was happy about it - happy that I was happy.

I think that has definitely had an impact on my views about money. I have a love/hate relationship with my budget. I have a love/hate relationship with credit cards. I often think to myself "ugh, I don't want to be like him, throwing a fit over every dollar. If I (or M and I) want it, I'll buy it" and when it comes to other people, I really enjoy buying them random gifts, taking them out to dinner, etc. I get a real high from spending money. It relieves my stress. (And then I'm sure it goes right back to contributing to my stress after I see my credit card bill!)

I recognize the necessity of a budget. I definitely need to get better control over my finances (and need to find other ways to deal with my stress). But I also believe that when you make the decision to spend money on something or someone, you smile about it! (beyond the necessities anyway... I have yet to smile about paying for my car registration ;P)

How have your families contributed to your views on money?


Anonymous said...

"when it comes to other people, I really enjoy buying them random gifts, taking them out to dinner, etc."

I totally relate - sometimes spending on other people puts a smile on their face which is great to see! I don't mean that we should feel obligated to do so by any means, but simply as part of your relationship.

My dad was the ultimate minimalist - didn't believe in spending money on fun, or even on things like insurance. My mum, while not quite as bad, was also pretty frugal. I do feel like I missed out on typical experiences like family holidays and things that we never did, but c'est la vie. I'll get to do those things with BF, friends and in the future my own family.

Chichi {From Now Till I Do} said...

Growing up I got given pocket money, but was never taught about saving or budgeting, so it was often spent and never saved.

My mum has always been the saver and my dad the spender. My mum hates paying interest so always pays of her credit cards in full each month. My dad on the other hand has a completely different relationship with money and often purchases things and thinks about how it will be paid for later.

Throughout my teenage years I have kinda been like my dad, but now that I'm older and starting to settle down, I understand that having credit card debt is not a good thing and I need to do everything I can to be debt free. I've also started saving for the future, contributing the maximum to my pension and keep a spending diary and budget.

I really want to break the spending habits of my childhood and in time teach my children valuable lessons about money.

me in millions said...

It's hard to separate your family's beliefs on money from your own. My mother doesn't like to spend any money on herself, which made me feel guilt spending on myself later in life. But on the flip side, she also taught me a ton of great money saving tips that I didn't realize I knew until recently.

Suze Orman talks a lot about how our early interactions with money and personal finance stuff really shape how we view money later in life. I think it is so true!

MEG said...

It's interesting how even just a few comments or experiences about money from parents can have an everlasting impression on a child.

I still remember clearly the confusion and disappointment felt when my mom told me I couldn't order a happy meal at the McDonald's drive thru. I couldn't understand why, but I felt helpless and alarmed. Little did I know my parents had plenty of money in the bank but were scrimping to save up to build their dream house a few short years later.

I think it's important for parents not to talk about money too much, whether in a positive or negative way. But when they do I think it's important to explain their view or decision. If my mom had smiled and told me they were saving money for a new house, that memory of mine (and part of my attitude about money) might be totally different. I might have learned "ooh, saving money can get you something awesome and beautiful!" rather than "money can make you settle for things you don't want."

Anonymous said...

Hmm, what an interesting topic! I really couldn't say that I did get any financial advice ever from my parents! They never discussed anything money with me. However, I remember when I was 12 I took horseback riding lessons and had to pay half of it by helping my mom with direct mailing stuff at home (she worked for a marketing company at the time) for pay (I took lessons from 10-18). I worked from 14 on for my dad at his restaurant and catering gigs, a LOT. Then when I was 16-17 I got a job at the local supermarket.

I guess I did learn to work and earn a salary, but nothing about saving or credit, or the like.

I did learn that when I really needed money (separating from my first relationship and moving in by myself somewhere and when I totalled my car and had to get a new one and had no money to afford it), that they refused to help.

I guess I learned that only I am responsible for myself, and not to look to others for a hand out or assistance.

Copyright © 2008 - The Debt Chronicles - is proudly powered by Blogger
Smashing Magazine - Design Disease - Blog and Web - Dilectio Blogger Template