The Money Lessons Your Parents Taught You By Accident
Some of what our parents taught us were well-intentioned, but damaging to our relationship with money. Where did they get it wrong?
Published: Tuesday, April 4th 2017
We all grow up believing we’ll never turn into our parents. Young and naive, we believe we can do better, given the chance. Sometimes we’re right, but there are lessons they teach us, without realising, that can negatively shape our relationship with money.
Money Lessons You Need To Let Go Of
Before you start dwelling on how mom and dad did you wrong, let’s be clear that these lessons were not intended for your harm. Quite the opposite. They were trying to help you, as best they could, to survive the world as they knew it. Times have just changed.
Pick a Horse And Ride It
Career-wise, our parents grew up in a completely different environment to us. Good jobs were scarce and they were of the mindset that you hold on to your job until retirement. They did not have the internet as the platform it is today, so it’s very rare to find a parent who let's you just ‘figure it out’ on a gap year.
Instead, they pester us throughout primary and high school with questions of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Sometimes, even steering us into studies they feel will set us up for a career that’s safe and secure.
But, the reach of the internet and the resources available online has made it possible to turn your passions into jobs. There are countless stories of people turning their hobbies, or ‘side hustles’, into viable businesses. Instagram is one of the platforms that makes it possible to make money by just posting cool pictures.
One young woman sells her needlepoint work on Instagram. She embroiders pictures of her plants and she has a following of 391 000. So, don’t just ‘pick a horse and ride it’. Take the time to figure out what you love to do; the money (and fullfilment) will follow. And, you won't resent your parents for the rest of your working life.
Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees
This we (should) know, was meant to teach us the value of things. But, self-made millionaire, Grant Cardone, recently shared with CNBC how this sentiment actually creates a scarcity mindset.
His example of parents getting this wrong was: ‘You have to finish everything on your plate’. He explains that if you feel like you have to eat everything on your plate, it leads to a scarcity mindset, which is the opposite of the abundance mindset.
“A scarcity-based mindset is what I call a 'not-enough attitude'. The people who have it are the ones who complain about not having enough time, money, energy, or resources to achieve their goals,” says Cardone.
He adds that people with a ‘not enough’ attitude typically approach their challenges by focusing on what they lack.
“As a result, their businesses, and the people around them, choose the wrong priorities: Preservation rather than growth, and familiar surroundings instead of new frontiers.”
It’s Impolite To Talk About Money
This is a topic that still divides households. “Let children be children – they shouldn’t have to worry about money.” Oh, but we do. The reason so many new programmes are focused on teaching children good financial practice through pocket money, is because money management is such a vital life skill. The basis of which is not really covered at school. It’s no wonder so many young people become over-indebted, sometimes as soon as they start working. They were never taught about how money works, because nobody discussed money in the household.
Then there are the households that find it impolite for children to ask things like: “How much did this cost?” But, if money is a taboo subject in the home, how does that affect a child’s relationship with money growing up? Or how money is managed in a relationship?
The reason some of us are still procrastinating on saving for retirement, not addressing our online shopping addiction, or digging a deep hole of debt, is because we may be holding onto an incorrect relationship towards money. A relationship that goes back to childhood.
But, there are countless books and resources to unlearn some of these accidental lessons and replace them with healthier (more fruitful) notions.
More Accidental Money Lessons To Watch Out For
Cordon says our parents were operating on a fear level for survival. Teaching us things that were relevant for their lives, in their time. But, those lessons aren't applicable to the world we live in now.
- Play it safe
- Be careful
- Don't blow your own horn
- Don't rent
- Don't speak unless spoken to
- Fly under the radar
- Set "reasonable" expectations
- It'll all work out
“Now that it's your turn, don't blindly teach your own kids these principles without thinking more deeply about them yourself,” he concludes.