June 18, 2014

Six Things My Parents Did Right When Teaching Me About Money

1.  They started young.
If I wanted something, I used my own money to buy it.
As a 3-year-old at Disneyland I purchased my first "souvenir",  a sterling silver pendant of the castle, with my own money which I had earned and saved.
As a preschool aged child I gained experience in saving up for something, and discovered the feeling of accomplishment from meeting a goal and getting something I really wanted.

{You can read my thoughts on allowance here.}

2.  They let me make mistakes
At 10 I bought a doll, a rather expensive (and well made) doll. I had saved and saved and saved. It was a big accomplishment I suppose, however, it never brought me the satisfaction I wanted. Instead of buying the same kind of doll as my friends had, the doll I really wanted, I bought something "better". It was beautiful, and higher quality, but it wasn't the same size, and because of that it wasn't easy to play with my friends and their dolls. Mine was a GIANT. I spent more money, I got something nicer, but I wasn't happy, and I'd spent a lot of money on something that made me unhappy. My parents didn't fix it. My mom let me share my disappointment, she validated me, she consoled me, but she didn't fix it.
What I learned: before making a purchase I take the time figure out what I really want and why I really want it. More is not always better, bigger is not always better, and it's better to delay a purchase than regret it.

3.  They were persistent
The stock market, oh the stock market. My dad started teaching me about the stock market at about age 12. I HATED the stock market.
My parents started a college fund for me, and EVERY time(OK maybe not every time, but it sure felt that way) the statements came my dad would make me sit down next to him and he would show me what was happening with the stocks in my account. I was confused. I was annoyed. I was positive that I wanted NOTHING to do with the stock market. I didn't even understand what stock was I didn't know why these people were paying me money (or not). I'm sure he knew I didn't understand, or care, but he was persistent.
After a few years I started to catch on, little by little. When I started taking a class in college where we learned about stocks and bonds and retirement and choosing mutual funds I was surprised at how much I knew. I was surprised that what I knew was not common knowledge. I still had a lot to learn, but my dad's persistence, with his stubborn and uninterested daughter, had given me a foundation that led to success in the class. This foundation allowed me to focus on more detailed aspects since I already knew the basics. It gave me the courage and desire to start investing for retirement.

4.  They didn't sugar coat the facts
When I wanted something that wouldn't work with their budget or priorities they told me. It wasn't dramatic, and it wasn't a secret.

5.  They expected me to have a job
There's nothing quite like having a job you don't enjoy to teach the value of a dollar. 
Every dollar painfully earned is a dollar not to be thrown away on a candy bar you didn't fully enjoy or a movie you didn't really want to see.

6.  They taught me to shop sales/clearance/second-hand
My motto: The more I save, the more I can spend.
I like to spend money, but I don't like to spend more than necessary

My favorite Pre-Loved items:
A pair of great condition designer jeans for my son at a second-hand shop for $8
A Prince Lionheart Slumber Bear (which I truly believe is a significant contributor to my 2nd child sleeping soo much better than my first) for $2. Yes, TWO dollars!
Vintage Pyrex Dishes
My Toddler's favorites:
A Little Tikes Basketball Hoop
A toddler sized football

A toddler sized putter

These finds are rare, but they make the hunt completely worth it.

1 comment:

  1. This article was recently published on FamilyShare.com you can see it, and other family related articles here: http://familyshare.com/money/6-things-my-parents-did-right-when-teaching-me-about-money