Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kids & Money: Where it all starts

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Think about some thing for a minute - Where do you get your ideas about money and money management? How did your parents manage money? Did they talk to you about money as you were growing up?

If your answer to that last question is "yes", then you are one of the lucky one (and probably in the minority). For most of us, I'm guessing we picked up on a lot of cues from our parents but were never really involved in the day to day workings of their finances.

My parents never had credit cards, but that doesn't mean that they were good money managers. Still to this day, my parents keep all their finances separate - Mom pays certain bills, Dad pays other, and never the two shall meet. This practice has spared them huge credit card debt, but has also left them with very little retirement and a whole lot of tension when it comes to money. My Dad liked nice toys, but my Mom was the more sensible one (a clear reflection of the way they were raised).

Of course, as a child I picked up on this and it shaped me greatly. I grew up with a constant conflict of liking nice things and wanting to find a good bargain. And, even though I have had a job and checking account since I was 16, I really had no experience with budgeting. My parents never had one, so how was I to learn.

Oddly enough, my husband comes from the other extreme. His Mom managed the household money very carefully. She had her own little way of balancing the checkbook (budgeting) that I think we'd classify as "sinking funds" now. Tim's Dad had his own business, so they paid for a lot of things in cash too but he definitely comes from a savings background. I'm sure it's the reason he had such a hard time letting go of that "magic number" he thought he needed in our checking account when we first started on Dave Ramsey's plan.

I'm sure you are wondering why I'm talking so much about Tim and I when this post was supposed to be about kids and money. If it isn't obvious by now, I'll clear that up... where we come from has a tremendous impact on where we are going and what we pass down to the next generation. So when it comes to kids and money, the place to start is taking a hard look at how we were raised.

What were the good things? What would we like to change? What do we want our children to remember when they look at our examples?


PS~Erin said...

First, we love Dave Ramsey. He is the main reason we were able to stay afloat and not go into debt during my husband's 10 month layoff last year. We are slowly refunding everything and are so very thankful to be doing so. We have just started thinking about doing some sort of commission/allowance/earning deal with our daughter, but haven't quite settled on anything. I will look forward to hearing more about your kids and money series. Thanks for sharing!

Kara said...

Good things I remember growing up: I saw my folks pay off their debt and now watch them live debt-free. Pretty amazing, really when you consider they sent 4 of us off to college.

Things I'd like to change: my Mom handled all their finances and still does. I'd like to show our kids that Chris and I work together on our finances (of course, that is a little tricky w/ a nerd and a free spirit, but we're working on it)

Looking forward to this series, Angie!


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