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Old 02-19-2013, 10:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,825

What money lessons did your parents teach you?

I've been thinking about all the things we will have to teach our child once it is here. I think one of the most important skills a child will need to learn is about managing money. I also think that is something that some parents avoid or don't know how to teach, maybe because no one ever taught them. I think it is especially important after seeing what happened when the economy crashed and so many people had too much debt and not enough savings.

Here are 2 very important lessons I my parents taught me:

1. Loans and interest. When I was around 8yo I did get a weekly allowance. I wanted something (don't remember what) that I didn't have the money for. So I asked my dad for an advance on my allowance. The advance was the equivalent of 2 months allowance. So my dad said he would give me the money, but I had to pay interest - 25%. He explained what the interest was, but I didn't really list. I was like "yay, great, interest is no big deal, I get the thing I want!" I get my thing, 2 months go by, and I'm ready to get my allowance again because I want the money to go the mall with my BFF and her mom. My dad had to remind me that because of the interest I owed, I still had to give him 2 more weeks of allowance. I went to the mall with no money and watched my friend spend her allowance she saved. Lesson learned -borrowed money isn't free. There is a cost to it - an opportunity cost and/or a financial cost.
2. Take care of what you have - When my mom saw that I was rapidly approaching that age where kids don't take care of their toys because they think mom and dad will replace it, my mom quickly nipped it in the bud. I got a new toy that all the kids wanted, and it had a few different pieces, all required to make it functional. My mom told me to take care of it, keep it all together. Less than a week later I broke a piece that made it non-functional. I got all upset and wanted a new one. My mom refused to buy my a new one and I was devastated. But I took better care of my toys and kept the pieces together. I even made my friends take care of my toys, or I wouldn't let them play with them. Lesson learned - take care of what you have because there you may not be able to get another one
3. Make sure you really want it - Another common kid one - you want something right then, and don't think about what you are willing to give up to get it, or if you will want it 2 months from now. My parents let me learn this one the hard way. I wanted some electronic when I saw it in the store, and I had the money so I bought it. My parents didn't try to stop me. That electronic quickly started gathering dust and I saw something else I wanted. But my money was gone and I refused to borrow more (see #1), so I had to do without. Lesson learned - if you think you really want something, sleep on it. If you still want it after a certain period of time then you can always go back and get it. If it is gone, it wasn't meant to be

So what did you learn about money from your parents?
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