Friday, February 22, 2013

What I Learned About Finances From My Family ... Part 2

Part 2 ... My Brother, My Husband, and Me ...

My brother, now he is a great example of what not to be. He didn't finish high school, never got a good job, can't keep a job to save his life. He's not a hard worker, has no ambition, and has no problem living at home and sponging off my Mom. He can't save a penny, every single cent he's ever made his entire life has been spent, and most of it on booze, cigarettes, and clothes. I think my Mom finally makes him pay rent now that he's on welfare. Considering how my Mom left my Dad to his own devices when it came to money (and some of it hers too!) its not so surprising to see that he gets away with being a complete loaf.

Its so funny how living under the same roof can make you very alike and very different at the same time. I think most people inherit a lot of good and bad habits from both their parents. I was a spendthrift early on (Dad) and wasn't too worried about it, I could pay it off later (Dad). I didn't save, what I wanted I bought and I put it on credit (Dad). I'm a hard worker (Dad) and ambitious (?). I went to University and have taken many courses over the years to put me where I am now. I'm now becoming more of a saver (Mom) and wait until I have the money to make the purchase (Mom) although I'm not as scared about making the actual purchase and running out of money - I think this is because I'm still young and working. I can mostly do things by myself (Mom) and learned a lot about handling my money myself (courses and Gail) rather than relying on my parents. They never once told me how to budget or to save.

But I think even if my parents taught me how to budget it probably wouldn't have gotten through to me until later. As much as parents like to say "do as I say not as I do" most kids learn by example, not what they are told. If you see your parents never having a plan, never shopping with a list (Mom), and generally never explaining how they budgeted their money (they didn't) then it wouldn't have sunk in anyways.

I don't know where my and my brother's love of shopping came from, neither of my parents like to shop. Sale was my greatest four letter weakness. Although my Dad was optimistic and didn't blink about carrying a lot of debt, he wasn't as impulsive about his money. He didn't buy a lot that he later regretted.

As for my new family dynamic (married less than a year), we have a good relationship with our money. We don't have a joint account yet (when we buy a house) but we have lots of conversations about money, we know where each of us stands (savings and debt) and have very similar money ethics and goals.

T is good at investing but horrible at day to day finances. He works extremely hard (f/t job plus contracts on the side). He is ambitious and works hard towards his goals. However, he does regrets a lot of purchases (buyers remorse) and doesn't really budget (but does do automatic savings). He doesn't have a lot of debt or makes the money through contract work to pay it off quickly. I am jealous of his ability to make more money to achieve goals more quickly.  One point of contention between us at the moment, he doesn't like the housing market and keeps thinking that we will regret buying a house (if we buy it soon), he'd rather just invest the money and rent. I don't want to rent anymore, I want a house of my own, but we've compromised by only looking at houses within a reasonable price range where we can easily afford the mortgage payment and we will put at least 20% down so that we don't pay CMHC fees :)

So in the end, I think I've learned more of what not to do by learning from my parents mistakes rather than learning what to do. Other than my Mom's frugal tendencies which I'm trying to take the good part from and my Dad's hard working and optimistic outlook on life (except I tend towards Gail's motto: "Plan like a Pessmist so you can live like an Optimist"). My parents may not have made a lot of money, nor spent it wisely. However, we always had food on the table and I don't recall us ever worrying about losing the house. In fact, my parents rarely even fought about money so I didn't realize how deep the issues where until I was older. Although, its obvious I was affected by their relationship with money without even realizing it.

I think this says a lot about me and how my issues with money started and how I'm starting to recognize the patterns in order to not repeat the past.

How about you? How did your family's experience with money shape your money management?



  1. I identify with your family struggles so much! My parents are absolutely clueless with money, they'll never get ahead, and yet my mom continues to help my deadbeat brother out.

    Good for you for moving beyond what you knew growing up!

  2. I think many families struggle with similar issues. I've certainly tried my best to help my Mom improve her situation.

    My family actually has a history of letting the men get away with a lot (all my uncles were spongers of my grandmother, and now 1 is a sponger off my Mom). I can't say my Mom (and grandmother) are blameless, they let these men take advantage of them. Its hard because they're family.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Recognizing the patterns is easy for me. Actually following through is the problem.

    Thanks for sharing. My family has the same history of letting men be slackers, and it's proving to be true yet again.

  4. Hi Mochimac,

    I've read a few of your blog posts about your brother and I knew you could relate. After seeing how their brothers turned out, you'd think my Mom and Aunts would recognize and stop the pattern of allowing the men to be complete loafs in life.

    One of my aunts has 2 sons and she and her husband were quite strict with her kids and now they are cops (their father is also a cop, but I know the discipline in their house must have contributed). This aunt has told my Mom several times to move and not give my brother a key, but she won't do it.

    Its certainly taken me a long time to recognize the patterns and decide which I don't want to follow and which ones I'm taking as lessons. I'm going to try really hard to break these patterns with my child(ren).

    Thanks for dropping by! :)