Whether they know it or not, my parents did something right when it came to teaching my brother and me the value of money, and we are both truly thankful. Raised in an upper-middle class suburb, we were blessed to never worry about having to go without. But – at the same time – my parents were hell bent on making sure their kids were not spoiled and knew how to manage and earn their own money. Not an easy task – especially when many of our friends got whatever they wanted the second they asked…
Twenty something years later, I decided to ask my dad what was most important to him when it came to teaching us about money when we were young. So here are my parents’ timeless money lessons to pass on to generations to come. Father really does know best.
The Value of Possessions,
Dad believes if you never teach kids how to spend money and think through their purchases, they will likely grow upnever having enough money because they’ve wasted it on things they really didn’t care about in the first place.
I remember when I was seven, my ten year old brother desperately wanted the newly released Apple Computer. This was a purchase he could never afford on his own, but that wasn’t the point. Was it so important to him that he was willing to work for it? The answer was yes. So, my parents agreed that they would match every dollar he earned and put it towards the ‘Macintosh Fund.’ Aside from negotiating covert deals with grandmas, aunts and me, the kid went out and got a paper route (that required one of my parents to wake up at 5am every morning to follow the little guy on his bike as he delivered his papers). It’s a sacrifice that they still feel was well worth the lesson!
A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned
The concept of saving money was always stressed in our house when we were small. My dad loved to repeat the simple (but somehow often ignored) lesson that if you never save money, you’ll never have it…
Our bank offered kids savings accounts, and every other Saturday, Breezy the Clown waited to greet us and give you a reward for making a deposit into your account. I remember feeling great pride when I made my way up to the teller to make my small deposit. To this day, I remember those trips to the bank vividly.
Taking Responsibility & Hard Work
And last but not least, the first lesson of how to MAKE MONEY came from my dad, and he led by example. In our house if you said you’d do something, you better do it. My parents were sticklers for us taking responsibility for our actions and sticking to our commitments. Dedicated to his business, my dad worked hard and it paid off. You could (and still can) always count on him. His word is gold.