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Subject:  Re: Poll: Your parents...Foolish or not? Date:  8/28/2003  2:03 PM
Author:  ksgrothe Number:  591 of 5232

I voted that my choice isn't here. My parents basically taught me next to nothing about finances. Money was rarely discussed at our house, but I got the impression from my dad's grumblings about paying the bills and my parents' hushed discussions about finances, that we were pretty much living paycheck to paycheck. I don't think they know how to live below their means -- although my mom clipped coupons and shopped grocery sales, my parents bought lots of stuff that they probably didn't need. As a teenager, I didn't really want to ask them for money to buy clothes, so I would use babysitting money and money from a job at a fast-food restaurant to buy clothes for school. I often felt like my family couldn't afford a lot of things, but we had cable, lots of magazine subscriptions, and a riding lawnmower for our 3/4 acre yard (because my dad was hoping his daughters would be more willing to mow the yard on a riding lawnmower -- I did use it some and thought it was pretty fun to mow the yard on a riding lawnmower at age 14.) After I moved out, I have witnessed my parents order vitamin packs, weight loss programs, books, and lots of other stuff they didn't need through the mail. They have also helped my sister out financially quite a bit, including paying off her car that my dad co-signed for. My sister has really struggled to manage her own finances. Maybe I should have voted that my parents showed me what not to do with money.

My dad got paid once a month and would sit down to pay the bills at that time. I have found out in recent years that by doing this, he pays some bills after their due dates and has paid some late fees. (When I suggested that he try to change the due dates to coincide with when he paid bills, he said that he tried on some of the utilities and they wouldn't change the due dates.)

I don't think my parents have any savings other than my dad's 401K. And my dad has taken loans out on his 401K at least 3 times that I know of -- one loan to help pay for my freshman year of college (I paid for the rest on my own using student loans after I got married), one loan for my sister's freshman year of college (she quit school after that), and a loan to consolidate debts, I think. From reading The Motley Fool Discussion Boards, I think that taking out these loans was probably not a good idea.

So from this background of learning little about saving and LBYM, I struggle to learn Foolish ways of managing my own money. The Motley Fool website and discussion boards are helping me immensely.



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