Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Parents Influence Over Their Kid's Money

Over at Get Rich Slowly, the author had an interesting post on how parents influences a child's view on money and how that carries over to their adult life. I have to admit this got me thinking a bit about my own family's views on money.

I grew up in the middle class so I never felt deprived of anything, yet at the same time I wasn't spoiled. Now as I can see my parent's over spending habits, I have to wonder why I don't overspend at all. I know that I'm their son (actually I was the only baby in the hospital, so I couldn't have even been switched at birth), but when it comes to money genetics I might as well be a different species. I always have lived below my means, saved money and avoided debt before I even knew those were good things to do.

Perhaps the two events that shaped me most weren't even noticed by my parents. The first was one day I was taken to the bank to buy some Canada Savings Bonds. Upon getting to the bank I was informed that I had enough to get a term deposit instead and get a higher interest rate. In that moment I learned something important: Having more money give you even more choices to make your money work for you. So $100 to invest is good, but $10,000 is better.

Then other thing my parents did for me that really hit home was during my second year of university they stopped paying the bills. They had decided to buy a cottage instead of funding the remainder of my education. So they co-signed some loans and I was now living off debt to pay my school. I hated it, but it taught me to pay attention to my spending. Needless to say I reduced my spending at school by 10% the next year and I started paying down the debt with every dollar I could after leaving school. So I learned, debt can be good tool, but don't depend on or think for a second it is your friend. Debt truly is a master/slave relationship, you get to pick which one you will be.

So what's your story, did you pick up terrible spending habits from your parents or did you learn to save early on? If you feel like sharing leave a comment or send me an email (

5 comments: said...

Great post. Would you mind if I posted on a similar topic?


MCM said...

My story isn’t that interesting but it’s easy to see how I became a cheap, frugal penny-pincher. I’m sure much of my penny-pinching came from my Mom, my dad made an average middle class income but my mom stayed at home so as a family we made less than the average (but lived better than average because of her zero debt policy). Although my mom stayed home she controlled the money, and was always cutting coupons, she made all our meals from scratch (healthier and cheaper) and wasn’t wrapped up in any kind of consumerism (I never had a $100 pair of jeans as a kid and don’t plan to now that I can afford them). To this day she can’t understand why anyone would shop at A&P when you can shop at no-frills. Probably the most important lesson I learned from them though was to avoid debt like the plague. They built their own house and finished it as they had the money which resulted in them never having a mortgage (plus their house is exactly as they wanted it) . They also bought their cars in cash. I learned how to save from my mom but learned how to invest and take some risks on my own (as my own parents are very risk averse). I was lucky that as a kid (maybe 15) I got a job landscaping with a very wealthy family (friends of my family). I talked to them about investing and they lent me a copy of the Wealthy Barber—from that point on my interest in investing grew and I bought my first mutual fund at 16 and at 21 bought my first stock while attending university. Now I’m scrimping and investing my way to $1,000,000 (hopefully).


Canadian Dream said...


Please go ahead and write your own post. Perhaps leave a comment here with a link to the post, so everyone can read your ideas on this as well.


Wow, long comment, but a good one. Thanks for sharing.


MCM said...

um..ya in retro-spec it does look a little long.....

MCM, said...

Hey C Dream,

Here is my post relating to the same topic (click on my site name).