Whether you’re financially smart or dumb, part of what you do with your money, you’ve learned from them. Good thing, though, is that you don’t necessarily grow up to be like your parents. But they sure can influence you.
In my case, my mother was pretty shitty with money. Never really believed in long term financial planning, saving, and spent pretty much on her whim. She died with nary a cent for me to inherit. And whenever the parent leaves the kid with the funeral bill, that’s always a shitty deal.
Good thing is that I learned from her mistakes and have become much better when it comes to finances. My mother’s experience taught me to value money, save, and spend carefully. Part of my motivation is that I want to retire wealthy and to leave a nice inheritance for my kids.
Be aware that parents often put up fronts either for to appear to be keeping up with the Joneses or perhaps to help kids feel secure about the family’s financial stability. Try to take a look back at your childhood and compare and contrast your parent’s lifestyle.
Spending habits like incurring debt and not budgeting are tell-tale signs of financial stupidity. If your parents live frugally and are now happily retired, then they’ve done great. Learn from their successes. If not, then try to learn from their mistakes and avoid digging for yourself your parents have dug for them.
The best way to know these things is to communicate. Be open. Talk to your parents and know their biggest mistakes. Talk to your spouse and feel free to discuss money matters in an honest and proactive light. Talk to your kids so that they also have a clear picture of your finances so that they can grow up financially smarter than you.