Childhood Lessons in Finance

BIG Disclaimer: I am not by any means a financial professional! Besides a few random accounting classes I took while pursing my economics degree, which I remember about 0%, OK maaaaybe 1% credit and debit, I don’ have ANY background in finance. What I am about to share is based solely on my own personal experience of what has worked and has not worked for me in terms of managing our family’s finances.

 

 

That being said if finances are not an issue for you, simply meaning what you are doing works well for you, then you might want to skip over this and move on to something more fun! Part of this blog for me is sharing my experiences. Whether you are a professional or not, finances are a very important part of all of our lives.
 

When your finances are working for you it is possible to achieve financial freedom, something I have come to learn means more than any amount of money or stuff! When they are not, there is not a lot that is more suffocating and stressful. This impacts every part of your life even down to your health and overall wellbeing.
 

If you are a parent, add to that how it affects your children’s well being, now AND in the future, and you can add a whole TON of guilt to the pile, because you are completely responsible for providing for and teaching them. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to make anyone feel bad or stress more, just trying to emphasise how extremely important making your finances work for you is.
 

I was very fortunate starting out in that my childhood background in terms of learning about money was very good. From the very beginning whenever my siblings and I would receive money for things such as a birthday gift, or Christmas gift, or feeding the neighbor’s cat we always had to save at least half. Touching that saved money was not an option, so much so that when I was young it didn’t even occur to me that it was actually possible for people to take money out of savings accounts.

 

Everything I needed was provided for me, and even extras such as orthodontics, extracurricular activities and sports. I never once worried about money or having a home as a kid. Let me take a moment to say a long overdue THANK YOU to my parents!! Totally took that for granted until I became an adult.
 

Anyway, I was 1 of 4 kids. Now that I have kids I really understand that means more ($$), and my kids are not even teenagers! One blessing of being 1 of 4 is that we didn’t get extra stuff all the time, simply because you multiple anything you do x4 children and that is a lot! That was a good lesson in and of itself.

 

 

By the time I got to be a teenager and started working and earning money I automatically took out half right away and put it into my savings account. That was all I knew and it was great! I specifically remember my Mom teaching me how to keep track in a register book. I was also given the privilege of using my parents debit card occasionally to buy gas and groceries. I would keep the receipt and as soon as I came home I would write it down and subtract in my parents register book. Now that is trust!! It was also a gift because it helped me learn responsibility.
 

All I can remember about college is that I was in kind of a bubble. I had a good amount of saving built up from my childhood, and was fortunate to have more help from my parents and grandparents. Considering how much tuition was I was extremely fortunate to come out with the amount of student loans I did.
 

In college I wasn’t a credit card user. I didn’t know much about credit cards. I believe I had one but did not use it. Growing up I knew my parent’s had one, but I don’t remember seeing them use it. It was probably rare, and I remember being told they only have it in case of an emergency. Those days I was all about my debit card and keeping careful track.
Then I got into the REAL world with real bills and real responsibility. I have had my share of ups and downs. Done some things well and other things not so much. In the process I have gotten really in touch with exactly what works for me and what does not. I also know some traps to avoid, and ways of doing that.
 

When I lived downtown in the very beautiful and very expensive city of Vancouver I was part of a money club started by my wonderful friend Sue. We set goals for ourselves, talked about struggles, learned from each other, and most importantly felt we were accountable to the group for following through.
 

It was brilliant of my friend to start! Often in life we do things on our own. We don’t let others in, and therefore we close the door to any help, motivation, and support others provide. In the words of my dear blog friend Chef Dennis “Together we are Stronger!”
 

More to come…
 

I will open up and share with you some of my success and downfalls, what works for me and what does not. I fully expect that you will disagree with some of my personal financial philosophies about managing money, because each person is unique and above everything you need to follow your own instincts. Sharing my experiences is an effort to help anyone trying to find their way, and also serves as a reminder for myself. I hope one day it aids in teaching my children. That childhood foundation has been a huge help for me in figuring out the world of finances and I very much want to provide the same for my children.
 

What did you learn about money when you were a child? Do you feel it helped or hindered you?

 

 

 

 

 

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