Personal finance, as we pf bloggers like to say, is just as much “personal” as it is “finance.” But where does the personal come from? Isn’t it a little jarring to realize that despite the fact that we grow up, leave home, and set out on our lives as adults, there are notions and beliefs that are ingrained in us.
Sometimes, we don’t even realize what they are, or that we have them… but those ties? Oh do they ever bind.
- Earning ability is a terrible thing to lose (or, I must work). I attribute this to my mother, who has a work ethic like nobody’s business, and her friends, who seemed to have disappointing marriages where they either (1) ended up as the sole provider, not by choice or (2) became unable to leave a bad situation because they were financially dependent on their spouse. Giving up one’s earning ability is a very big gamble, and from what I’ve seen, that gamble hasn’t turned out too well for many people.
- My financial responsibility to my kid includes college expenses. The influence? Again, my mother. Her view is that her responsibility as a parent is to provide the best “launching pad” possible to her child. I can’t scrimp and save as she has for my college education (though I will be eternally grateful that she did so), but I plan to save at least 1/2 of the college expenses for my child so that I can help him/her graduate with a manageable debt level. No matter what, I can’t imagine not giving substantial help. My mom will probably be disappointed if I didn’t at least make a concerted effort to help my kid pay for college.
- It’s not pretty to be old and poor. Apparently, the best way to encourage your child to be financially responsible is to impress upon her the dire consequences of being old AND poor. (Young and poor? No problem, work hard and save! Old and financially-secure? Enjoy your retirement. But old AND poor? Beware, beware!) Fear is a useful weapon, use it wisely. Because, let me tell you, it works! Those Louboutins are tempting, but they are no match for Mom’s stories of the unfortunate elderly who must reside in a poorly-run nursing home or be denied access to the newest medical treatments because they lack financial resources.
Those three are the ones that come to the top of my head. What are your “ties that bind”? Do we have any one in common?