This is a guest post from Denise from Single Saver as part of the Yakezie Blog Swap #4. The Single Saver offers practical, money saving tips in a fun and interactive format. Read about my biggest financial pet peeve at Single Saver today.
Ever try to think of your biggest pet peeve? How about focusing the question to your biggest financial pet peeve? For me, it hard to narrow it to just one. I find all of the following equally frustrating:
- People being wasteful with money and/or possessions.
- People not setting aside an adequate emergency fund.
- People not saving/investing for retirement.
- People not living within their means.
- People being overly impulsive with their spending habits.
Each of those items revolves around people’s habits with money. But I also believe that each of those items can be avoided if good financial habits are instilled early in an individual’s life. And so, perhaps my biggest financial pet peeve of all is… PARENTS WHO DO NOT TEACH THEIR CHILDREN GOOD FINANCIAL HABITS!
I grew up as an only child of parents who did very well for themselves. Admittedly, I never experienced financial hardships as a child. That said, we never lived high on the hog, either – even though we were financially able to. My parents saved first and spent second, and they instilled that habit in me from an early age.
When I was born, my parents opened a savings account for me where they would deposit the birthday and Christmas money I received. I can remember being as young as three or four and being able to see the amount rise each month when the statement came in the mail. It was then that I learned how fun and rewarding it can be to watch your savings grow.
When I was 16, my parents opened a checking account in my name. The account also had a Visa debit card linked to it. Because it was a debit card, I could only spend as much as I had available at any given time. This gave me the freedom to learn to use credit in a safe environment. I used that debit card all through college. When I did finally obtain a standard credit card many years later, I had developed the habit of not spending more than I could afford to pay. As a result, I have never had credit card debt.
My parents kept no financial secrets from me, nor from each other. Knowing the state of their financial situation (within reason) as a child taught me a couple things. First, just because you have money doesn’t mean you have to spend it. There can be pride and joy in saving! Second, there is comfort and security in having a financial balance large enough to cover any emergency that life throws at you. I knew when I grew up that I wanted that security, myself.
Tina and Andy
I work with a woman – we’ll call her Tina (not her real name). She is 26 and still lives at home with her parents rent free. Her parents are very well off financially and they still pay for Tina’s cell phone, car insurance, and pretty much anything else that Tina wants. So with a good job and no expenses you would think she would have a large savings account, would you not? Wrong! She spends every penny she makes on clothes (I am not making this up). Her boyfriend (we’ll call him Andy) is almost 30), also still lives with his parents, and lives a very similar lifestyle as Tina.
Tina and Andy think being an “adult” means buying expensive wine, $10,000 watches, and $1,000 shoes. Spending money is a pastime for them. Tina looks at me like I have two heads when I talk about my thrift store finds and once told me how awful Aldi was because they sold “generic” food. These two really have no clue about real life finances.
Both Tina and Andy were raised in families where their parents made more than enough money to support lavish lifestyles. The problem is, neither set of parents took the time to educate their children about money-management, budgets, or savings. All they were taught is that spending money is enjoyable. As a result, both have developed very bad spending habits that will be difficult to break. With no savings, no investments, and no clue about money management, they are very ill prepared for any financial hardship that comes their way. In my opinion, their parents have done them a huge disservice in that regard.
Back To Reality
As an adult, I have had some financially lean times. I have also had times of financial surplus. And thanks to the good financial habits my parents taught me from early on in my life, I was well prepared to deal with both situations in a responsible manner. I save first, spend second, and always evaluate my spending to ensure my money is being used in the most responsible way possible. I am comfortable living within my means and have a little savings and retirement set aside. That is a great feeling!
Parents, do your children a favor and teach them good financial habits from an early age. Doing so will make them better equipped to deal with their finances as adults. Such lessons will serve them well throughout their lives.