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|Subject: Re: Poll: Your parents...Foolish or not?||Date: 9/1/2003 10:17 PM|
|Author: InLivingColor||Number: 612 of 5048|
I got "financial schizophrenia" growing up. "Foolish (almost) all the way" meets "My parents showed me what NOT to do with money!"
My folks grew up during the Depression. Neither went hungry, but one was country mouse, the other city mouse, and those experiences influenced how they handled money.
As a young sprout I was exposed mostly to mom's money ways. This consisted of "I'm so sorry we can't afford to give you what your friends have" one week and "here! there's a little extra, so have a treat" the next. Didn't realize until I had a steady paycheck of my own what her problem was: she didn't know how to balance the money throughout the month. When she was growing up, her dad had some menial job which did not quite make ends meet, so her mom took in boarders, gave music lessons, etc. So the money in their house was inconsistent, and what my mom learned was to spend it when you had it cuz you might not have it tomorrow. (She never figured out that, if you don't spend it today, you will have it tomorrow.)
Fortunately, dad (country mouse) took care of the Important Bills. I would wager it never occurred to him to try to change mom. He just figured out how much they could afford to let slide down the drain every month, and that was her household budget. (And, to give her credit, she never wasted it so's we went hungry or anything. We just got cheap frivolous stuff instead of saving up for nicer frivolous stuff, or even saving up for non-frivolous stuff.)
But I didn't find out about how dad took care of money until I had some of my own. He's the one who taught me that saving was the way to get from Here to There, wherever There was, no matter how far away it was from Here.
Dad grew up in a time when you took a job for life and the company rewarded you for decades of service with a nice pension. He chose the government as his "company", but he would have had the same attitude nonetheless. Plus he'd had lots of loved ones wiped out in the Crash of '29, and never thought of the stock market as anything worth taking the time to understand. On the other hand, the foundation he gave me DID make it possible for me to figure that out for myself, fairly early, so I'd still call him Foolish even if he was a product of his times.
Overall, I'd say the two best lessons they gave me, money-wise, were:
1. never expect a hand-out
2. learn from the mistakes of others
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