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Sandy at First Gen American has proposed another Coffee Talk.  This is when she presents a topic and as many bloggers as possible jump in on the same day to cover it from their unique point of view.  This month’s topic was “What my dysfunctional _______ taught me about _______.”  Since this is my personal finance blog, I’m taking a direct route to material.  🙂

Most of my family reads this blog once in a while and will probably chime in if I’m way off on something, but this is what I learned about personal finance from my family while growing up:

  • Mom – Take responsibility for your own money.  I remember that our credit union wouldn’t let me open a savings account that wasn’t accessible by my parents unless I had an official identification card.  My mom wanted me to have complete control over my own money and took me to the Department of Motor Vehicles at age 6, waited in that long line with me, and even helped me up on a step stool to have my picture taken.  I opened my own account with my ID in hand soon after.  I still have the picture from that ID in my closet.
  • Dad – Splurging is okay as long as your bases are covered.  Seriously, my dad is all about saving first, but I did learn that having a good time is allowed.  I remember visiting theme parks and seeing movies like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin in the theater.  I also used to talk him into buying me one treat from the gas station anytime I was in the car with him while he was filling up.
  • Grandma – Investments rock.  My grandmother has an odd sixth sense when it comes to investing in stock market shares.  She buys stable shares but always seems to know when to sell right before it tanks for a little while.  I remember her and grandpa talking about some utility shares she did really well on when I was itty-bitty.
  • Grandpa – Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.  My grandpa rarely buys something new unless he is replacing something that doesn’t work anymore.  This seemed to rub off on me when it comes to furniture and cars.  I will use something until it simply doesn’t work for me anymore.
  • Sisters – Put aside money for specific purposes.  My younger sister is 8 years younger than me and the youngest is 13 years younger than me.  There were several times in my teenage life that I meant to get them something but simply didn’t have the money for when I remembered to go and buy it.  It made me feel like a complete loser and I haven’t ever forgotten to budget or save since then.  I never want to be in a situation where I simply don’t have the funds for something I want or need so I live with a detailed budget.
  • Aunts and Uncles – Savings matters.  During the good times and bad times, I was constantly reminded that having some money stashed away is a good thing.

My family may not always get along, but they did very well by me when it came to teaching me how to handle my financial life.

What did you learn about personal finance from your family?