I had this topic in my draft section for a few weeks now. I contemplated whether I should blog about it because really, someone with first world problems would post such a thing. Let me get this out there that I love my parents and I feel very lucky to be raised by two people who wanted nothing but the best for their 5 children. Yet even good people make mistakes.
The thing about being the youngest is that you get to watch from the sidelines where people make mistakes. This includes your parents who ingrained it in your head that they know what’s best for you. Even though they might be wrong.My parents were born during the Depression Era and raised in a third world country so frugality is literally the bones of having a family.
They didn’t have a lot of money but understand the quote “working through the sweat of your brows.” Actually after my dad died when I was young, I was repeatedly told by family and friends how he got his first job on American soil. His first/ last job was as a construction worker eventually as a supervisor for the same company. He walked in wearing his best suit for his interview, sitting among a bunch of men who were wearing shirts and jeans. Even my mother is a hard worker, always the first and usually the last to leave working as a receptionist at a Doctor/Dentist office.
1. Not Having Life Insurance.
My dad died when I was 12. Even though my brother and sisters already moved out, my mom had to raise 1 minor by herself. With such a small salary she was left with a mortgage and bills. It was fairly common for my siblings to send her money when they can. If my parents had life insurance this hardship my mom went through wouldn’t have been as hard.
2. Having Bad Costly Habits Such As Smoking & Gambling.
Lung cancer took my dad away from me but eventually I realize this was his fault. I can’t blame him completely because he was born during a generation where smoking was common. Yet I remember the older he became the more he smoked. My mother loved gambling. I never knew the extent of it but I have been told sometimes she gambled too much. I’m guessing the stress of raising a family on such a meager salary in the beginning will do that to you.
3. Buying Too Much Process/Prepared Food.
I say this because I only learned within the past few years that buying process/fast food really grossly enlarges what you spend on food. It was a habit I got from my mother out of convenience. To be honest as well I think I wouldn’t have been overweight as a child if I wasn’t fed with fast/processed food.
4. Thinking Your Company Will Take Care Of You.
My mom worked for the same company as long as I can remember. Yet I remember her not getting many raises and literally no promotions. I asked her when I young why she doesn’t look for another job. She told me because it’s best to stick to one company. She never gave me a good reason so I left it at that. In the end my siblings and I took care of her because she retired without a lot of money.
5. Relying On The Market Value Of Your Home As A Major Asset.
This can be a hit or miss thing. In my mother’s case the recession did no favors for her bringing down the market value of my childhood home. One year she felt so good having the house worth 3X as much. Which probably gave the illusion that they were doing something right. Yet in the end it was sold out of necessity at literally the same price when it was purchased. In the end the house wasn’t much of an asset.
6. Giving Money To Their Children/Relatives When They Don’t Have Much Themselves.
It’s funny how my siblings and I were raised by the same couple yet our financial outlooks are vastly different. I love them all but I think it’s a very bad habit to borrow off your parents if you had so many chances to save for an emergency fund. Plus you’re not really helping your kids by always giving them money when they want to. I’ve been in a bind myself at points but I expected them and scrimped and saved for my emergencies.
7. Letting Only One Spouse Handle The Finances.
My mom was the one that took care of finances. My parents didn’t talk money around me very often but I always had the feeling my mom was in charge of it. How do I know this was true? Well my siblings also suggested my mom handled them too and with my sisters marriages the trend followed too. I admit there are times I have seen them hide things from their husband (the keep the shopping bag in the car trick and work the new items slowly into their wardrobe/home).
I don’t do that with mine and always make it a point to let my husband know where our money went (even if it’s bad news). My husband and I use to have vastly different views on the comfortably of how much we are both bringing home. Now we both have a better understanding on what we want and need. I still let him take care of the smaller bills such as utilities but things pertaining to 401Ks, Mutual Funds, Vacation, etc. are greatly discussed together.
It’s obvious my parents financial habits where influenced from their generation. I had many older family/ family friends who mirrored their actions yet had different results. My parents did a good job raising a family. All those years I never felt that I lived in a broken home. There was always home. There were time when I wish we had more money, but that has really prepared me for today.