Family Money

I’ve spent a fair bit of time this holiday digging into some of the more historical posts on my favorite financial blogs. Over the course of the last few days I’ve read a lot about peoples’ dysfunctional relationships with money beginning with financially irresponsible parents.

I never thought I had much to say in this area. I wasn’t particularly taught anything about money (then again, who is?!) but I never saw anything negative in my parents’ financial behavior that would explain my own recklessness over the years.

I grew up in a solidly middle class family. My parents worked hard, never borrowed a penny they didn’t have a plan to pay back, invested responsibly. We weren’t “rich” by any sense of the word, but we were very comfortable and as an only child, I didn’t want for anything. I entered adulthood knowing only that I had to replicate the life I had. This was my parents’ expectation of me and I grew up with that message constantly being hammered home.

Now in my mid-30’s, I earn more money that my parents ever did. I have a fancier car than my parents ever had. I have luxuries that they never even thought of. I did what I was supposed to do and very quickly satisfied expectations. BUT, I did it all on credit.

Starting out, struggling, and building over time wasn’t a concept I was familiar with. I also never really stopped to think that my parents worked a lifetime to afford the house we lived in and the nice family car etc. My mother waited 20-years before she was finally able to afford her dream car. I got mine during my lunch break.

I’m a big believer in taking personal responsibility, and I acknowledge a million percent that I dug my own financial hole. I guess I just love what a little personal introspection can uncover during some festive downtime. I didn’t grow up with bad role models, I just grew up with a short-sighted approach to my family’s long-term expectations.