Why We Learn Our Money Habits From Our Parents
It’s a fact that we tend to mimic our parents in many ways when we are growing up. We see them do things and so we automatically assume that it’s the right way to do it. This may or may not be true, but it’s not something that we automatically question.
You’ve probably heard several famous people who had famous parents, and the obvious question that is always asked is the one about what it was like to grow up with famous parents.
The answer is invariably the fact that it was normal to them, because that’s what they were used to. Your upbringing would have been normal for you, no matter whether your parents were rich or poor, or whether they had debts or savings.
But many people don’t realize this, and as a result they wonder why they handle money the way they do in their adult life.
Of course it isn’t all black and white. Some people will tell you that they saw their parents getting into all kinds of debt, and decided they would never do it themselves. Other people in that same situation would follow the path their parents took, and wonder why they could never keep their money from slipping away in order to pay their debts.
But of course everyone can change, and no matter what you may do with your money at the moment, it only takes a determination to change in order to make things better.
But before we go any further with this idea, perhaps we should define the word ‘better’. Some people will automatically think that because they are saving all the money they can and not spending more than they need to, they are doing well. It certainly is better than being in debt, but if you are saving to the exclusion of having a good time and letting your hair down on occasion, that could be a problem.
Everyone views money in different ways, and for many people their view is exactly the same as one or both of their parents. And it may stay that way for their entire life because they never think to change it to something better. For example, money can buy you freedom, it can buy you choices, and it can buy you a better life. But if you have too little of it, it can cause you problems and heartache too.
In just one survey in Canada, statistics showed that habits most certainly are being passed on - and they aren’t always good ones either. You can read more about it here.
Of course some people will disagree on what age you should start teaching your own kids about the value of money and currency. Some would say no age is too early to start getting the basics of what money is across to the child - and that’s something we would advocate too.
If you visit the Child Care Aware organization’s website, you will be able to read a fascinating article about this subject that will certainly make you think about it in more depth. The article can be accessed here.
In the end, even if parents teach their children how to manage money properly, there is no guarantee that they will actually do it. Money management is as much about personal attitudes and opinions as it is about upbringing. And while these are partially formed when you listen to what your parents tell you, they can also be influenced by what you learn elsewhere - such as from your friends and workmates as your teenage years loomed, for example.
The key thing to remember is that if you are unhappy with the way you manage money at the moment, you can always start to do something about it. But the main thing you need to do is to identify the patterns and habits you are unhappy with, instead of just looking at your money. This is the only way that you can make changes that really last, and go into your future with the attitude towards money that might be as good as the one your parents had… or perhaps much better.
It’s up to you to decide.