Now that I’m older (and allegedly wiser), I can’t help but recognize certain patterns in this world.
The Same Apple?
One of these observations is tied to the old cliché – The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
If you’ve never heard that saying, it usually is in reference to children becoming quite similar to their parents in some manner.
I suppose it makes logical sense. We tend to parent our own children as we were parented (many times unconsciously).
Have you ever had an epiphany that you’re just like your parents? How about how you treat money? Are your views similar to theirs, or different?
Parental Financial Influence
How did your parents deal with money and personal finances?
I think it’s natural to observe and mimic the way we see our parents do something. Doing the same with money only makes sense.
This isn’t inherently bad, except that most of our society shies away from learning about personal finance. It’s something that’s not taught in our schools and we’re left to figure it out on our own.
Unfortunately, we are then destined to repeat our parents’ financial mistakes. Unless…
What Makes the Difference?
When individuals veer from their parents’ financial behaviors, I typically observe an individual making a conscious choice to change their particular situation out of the avoidance of pain, or the pursuit of pleasure.
I feel like I was pretty lucky. My Mom and Dad were complete opposites with money. Thus, there was no assumed “right way” of doing something and I had the opportunity to evaluate and choose my own path.
My Mom was a fantastic spender and really enjoyed life and experiences. Later on in life, however, I did see her struggle with her finances some. I give her a lot of credit raising 3 kids by herself after my parents divorced.
My Dad, on the other hand, didn’t like spending money. He was pretty frugal overall and tried to cut back wherever we could. This was a primary reason I grew up thinking we were poor. (Ironically, once I was much older, I was able to observe his generosity – that too has influenced me in my later years).
My Own Observations
Although I still feel like I’ve taken my financial destiny into my own hands, it’s interesting to note my financial habits still mirror both of my parents.
I still buy the occasional “toy” like my Mom used to, but not as many.
Likewise, I also try to save and invest like my Dad, but not as frugally.
Ultimately, I’m satisfied landing somewhere in between because I believe balance is a happy place to find yourself.
It will be interesting to see how my children grow up and what their beliefs about money are. They are growing up with far more than my wife or I ever had, so I definitely do not want to spoil them.
What Else Alters Your Financial Destiny?
Strong emotional events can become the catalyst to shift momentum in your life. Thus, a powerful and emotional event around money can impact your current financial trajectory.
I’ve observed many people who have made conscious decisions to change their path because they grew up and experienced some negative stimulus around money.
For example, my one friend’s parents used to make a significant 6-figure income. Although they were cash flow rich, her parents couldn’t seem to hold on to any of their cash.
Eventually, gambling and credit card debt crept into the picture and my friend witnessed first hand the downward spiral of her parent’s financial situation. When she was just a young girl, she was forced to deal with creditors and debt collection agencies tracking down her parents. Let’s just say they weren’t too nice.
After her parents declared bankruptcy, she vowed NEVER to have that happen to her own children and became a super saver. This has both served her, but also hindered her. It has helped her to ensure the certainty and well-being of her family, but the negative is that she never feels completely secure now matter how much money she has.
Your financial destiny doesn’t need to be written in stone. You have choices in this life.
I personally believe we are the happiest when we are in the pursuit of something greater than ourselves. So, the game of money and finding our financial destiny is a part of that journey that can impact you, your family, and your friends.
Figure out what you VALUE first before pursuing money or FIRE. You may realize that it doesn’t cost as much as you once thought.
Readers, how does your financial destiny look like today? Is it closely tied to your parent’s financial story, or not?
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