3 Money Lessons I Learned From My Parents

03 Jan 2017

Often we don’t appreciate everything that happens to us growing up as a child. We know that our formative years can very much outline and shape the way we think and act as an adult. We know that in some households money never gets discussed with the kids and in others there are detailed discussions about how to create a household budget.

These money lessons we learn as kids have a much deeper meaning in how we think about money than we can ever know in our adult years. Here are three money lessons learned as a kid and how they shaped our thinking around handling family finances today.

Lesson 1: Credit Card Debt

A father unfortunately enjoyed buying things before he earned them. He spent a great deal of money on credit cards for vacations, sporting event tickets, and his hobbies such as stamp collecting. For many years we had no idea that he used credit cards to purchase all of these items. When he passed away it was learned that he had racked up an incredible amount of credit card debt from these discretionary purchases. This lesson made us commit ourselves to NEVER carrying a credit card balance; especially if it pertains to extra fun items when they are not affordable.

Lesson 2: No New Cars

Every three to four years, a mother and father would go out and purchase a brand-new car. The father loved getting a new car. As a kid, you don’t really think about things like depreciation and how a new car is one of the worst financial assets to spend money unless you want to guarantee yourself that you’ll lose money. No matter how good the car may make you feel, it cannot add to your bottom line. Thus, years later in our own finances we will only purchase automobiles that are two to three years old. Although we could easily afford to buy a new car for cash, we know the better financial decision is to let the basic wear and tear take place before we purchase the car.

Lesson 3: Allowances

This is really interesting because kids used to actually get an allowance in their household for doing the handful of chores that were assigned to them. It began as a few bucks per week and got up to $10 a week when they were in high school. However, there were weeks where the kids really didn’t do all the chores and the parents would still give the kids money if they needed it despite the fact that the chores were not completed. As a family, it was decided that for the future kids there would be no allowance. Chores were expected responsibilities with all family members and you don’t get paid to do what is expected of you. People have varying views on this, but they don’t pay for chores or grades as both of them learned as kids that this may not be the best incentive award.

What money lessons did you learn from your parents growing up as a kid?

Did you get an allowance?

Did your parents pay for all of your college education or pay nothing at all?

Were there money arguments between your parents?

Did you get many gifts during your birthday or very few gifts?

How were parties handled in your household?

Did you pay for your first car?

What was a typical dining out experience?

All of these questions and more have shaped the way you will handle your money and potentially how you go about doing what you do for your kids. It’s amazing that money lessons often create a reverse psychology in you as a grown adult. It’s the age old, “I don’t want to do what my parents did to me” attitude that we can carry within us whether it comes to spending money on vacations, eating out, or our children. Just remember that kids pick up everything and the way you talk about money in your household will have a big impact in the way your kids handle their money in the future. The lessons learned both good and bad have greatly shaped our attitude toward money decisions today. What money lessons did you learn in your household growing up?

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Please consult with an advisor about your specific situation.


Brad Berger
Brad Berger

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