I was talking to John the other day, after writing this post about my first world problem as a kid. I always get choked up when I talk about how far my family has come in such a short time. My mom’s toilet in Jamaica was outside the damn house. My dad’s floor on the farm down south was like made of dirt. My childhood issue was lack of cable. If that’s not a come up, I don’t know what is.
Cable was a completely un necessary expense. It was early 90s so it wasn’t like it came with the internet and phone bundle like it did today, so my parents said F it. We didn’t need it. I learned a lot about living within my means, and below my means from my parents.
Today’s prompt for #Nablopomo is:
What is the most important lesson you learned as a child, and who taught it to you?
When I read it, immediately thought, money honey! I have learned so many amazing life lessons along this 34 year old journey I’ve been on, but the money lessons pop into my mind first. They make an appearance in every day life.
Live below your means –
Learned this from my parents and actually from all of my maternal family members. I actually enjoy budgeting (you can judge me if ya wanna!) and ensure there’s a padding between what we bring in and what has to go out.
Pay yourself first –
My mom drilled this into me. So I treat my savings as my most important bill. It gets paid out on the first just like the mortgage. (And biweekly on pay dayswhen I was working 9-5) ALWAYS save a portion of your income to an account you do. no. touch.
Never get a raise –
This advice was from my mom and I used it for a very long time. She said, whenever you get a raise, or a new, higher paying job…pretend you didn’t. So, if your paycheck was 2000 at your old job, and is now 2500, immediately have that 500 go direct deposit to a savings account so you never see it, and you continue living life at that 2000 level, while your money silently stacks up on the side.
Think beyond the money –
I never followed this advice, but now that I have children I see the value in it. When taking a new job, don’t just focus on the salary. Take into account the benefits and distance and ease, and responsibility, etc. My thinking when I entered the work world was, OK well I’m just gunna find something with the salary I want AND the benefits/distance/ease/responsibility/perks that I want LOL (and I usually did!)
The Jones’ are broke –
We all hear the advice to not keep up with the Jones’ (I really wanna type Joneses hehe). This basically means stay in your lane and live your life within your means, but my dad wouldn’t tell me not to keep up with the Jones’. He told me they were broke. The Jones’ put their fancy new stuff on their credit card and they’re broke AF in debt up to their eyes. LMAO (The lesson stuck, tho!)
Save for it / Avoid debt –
That leads to the lesson of saving up for everything you really want, and avoid debt as much as you can. I worked to put myself through college (and halfway thru grad school) to avoid Sallie Mae’s greedy ass. I save up usually for what I want because I’m terrified of debt. I don’t like owing people. This is the first time in my life that I actually have debts. (Now mind you, I don’t pay cash, I just make sure I have the cash on hand to pay off immediately, I use credit to keep my credit score great, and get points points points!!!)
Always have your own money –
My gram, from when I was very little, and boys still had cooties, always told me: “make sure you always have your own money, separate bank account, never rely on a man!” and it stuck. I have my separate account(s) and have 2 separate accounts for the kids as well.
I’m grateful my family wanted me to learn from their mistakes.
I recognize now that the money lessons I learned as a kid were all about keeping me “safe” financially. Nothing was told to me as a kid to help me learn how to build wealth, create generational wealth, invest in something larger than myself. (Except for buying a house. All of my relatives owned and drilled that into my head “own property, own land”)
I learned later on my own through reading personal development books and talking to some of my former bosses (White male CFOs and CEOs who led lovely charmed, struggle-free American Jewish or Anglo lives and had the opportunity to offer a different viewpoint) about how to have my money make me money. About how a little risk is something a great thing for a large reward. It was truly eye opening.
Nowadays my dad is up with his coffee and in front of his computer for the morning bell with his stocks, daytrading and letting his money make him money (despite that lovely dt pension he’s got ::side eye:: I see you, pops.) My mom invests as well now.
My plan for the children is to teach them early on all the money lessons I learned that kept me “safe” financially, as well as the lessons I learned later in life that will help them grow and thrive financially. I’ll also teach them more intricate lessons I learned later in life about tax “trickery” and using credit cards slyly to earn money. John and I are on plan to build wealth that will last past Ro and Kai’s kids, and create mindsets in those two lil
monsters blessings that get them on plan to do the same for their kids, grands, great grands etc…
I also intend to keep them in an abundant mindset so they won’t have money issues to overcome. I never say “we can’t afford it” or “money doesn’t grow on trees” or say anything that equates to wealthy people being “bad” people. I personally had to (and still have to, it’s cyclic) overcome money issues with regard to those types of sayings. (Something that really helped me was this book rite chea) And I don’t want my kids to have a slow financial start due to that kind of negative programming.
When Ro asks for yet another bloody toy when we’re out shopping, I tell him “we’re using our money a different way today” and that’s that.
I’m grateful for the money lessons I learned when I was younger. It kept me out of debt and gave me a more independent viewpoint and less of a “follow fashion” mentality.
What money lessons did you learn as a kid?
What other lessons did you learn as a kid that shaped you?
I feel like you wrote this for me! I want to teach my little one the same lesson. I’ve actually started to encourage him inside the womb so when he finally makes his appearance my negative money talk will stop. My next stop is learning how to invest well without the help of my 401k investor…
felicia-may stevenson says
Many good lessons here, I could stand to put a few in practice!