They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Following in your parents’ footsteps can be great or backfire big time. Adults took to the internet to share when listening to their parents’ financial advice worked (and when it didn’t).
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Leaving Money on the Table
An adult remembers hearing from their mother that it’s common for people to turn down pay raises to avoid being in a higher tax bracket. “Even as a child, I thought, ‘That makes no sense.'” Another agreed, “My dad believes the same thing, and he’s university-educated and a genuinely otherwise pretty intelligent man. Boggles my mind!”
2: Everybody’s Gotta Start Somewhere
One kid got a head start on financial readiness thanks to their parents’ unique gifting tradition: a set budget and a “Toys R Us” catalog to spend it on. “It’s my first memory of budgeting, and the idea of not being able to have it all and having to compromise to stay within budget stuck with me.”
3: Suspicious Minds
A few folks have parents who believe investing is equivalent to gambling away all your money. “To be fair, how would one go about investing pre-internet?” one person defended. “No such thing as passive investing, and no doubt you’d pay outrageous fees for mediocre returns. I don’t blame my dad for being suspicious.”
4: Debit Not Credit
Putting big purchases on a credit card isn’t always the right move, one person heard. “If you have the money for something, buy it outright and not on credit. You never know when your circumstances might change.”
5: Speedy Savings
When a savvy saver was in their teens, they stuck with junker cars instead of splurging on something new. “Mum kept asking me why I don’t just buy something new on a finance deal like my cousin,” they said. “6 years later, I own my flat, he makes more than me, still rents, and I don’t believe he has any savings. But he does have a shiny new A-Class.”
6: Make the Most of It
Reminiscing on their parent’s advice brought one underprivileged commenter to tears. They said, “Do your best in school so you can go to a new place and live a comfortable life. If we pass on, your education is the only thing we can offer to help you in the future.”
7: Go Big or Go Home
Despite recently losing their job, a home buyer was encouraged by their father to buy the biggest house they could afford. “He insists I should’ve stretched to more than I can reasonably afford. I ignored it anyway.”
8: Passion Project
Following your passion pays off, according to one person’s family. “Choose a career that you love that just covers your bills over a job that pays loads but makes you miserable,” they said. “I still think this is generally good advice regarding net life satisfaction.”
9: Skip the Credit Card
“Never, ever get a credit card,” one person heard from their parents. “They saw them as absolute scams and debt for no reason and were incredibly worried when I got my first one.” A few people shared this experience, saying they still get weird looks from their parents for using them sometimes.
10: From Little Acorns
Starting your savings young pays dividends. Luckily, one person’s folks taught them to save money early on. “This has paid off big time in my adult life.”
11: Dodging Debt
Learning by example has its ups and downs. After watching their parents go into debt for unnecessary luxuries that took years to pay off, one child saw exactly what not to do. “I definitely learned to avoid consumer debt like the plague (thankfully)!”
12: Solid Advice
“Always pay off your credit card at the end of every month” is the best advice a now adult heard from their parents. “Other than that, although they are good financial role models, much of their experience just doesn’t apply to me.”
13: Property Brothers
One piece of “bad advice” someone heard from their parents is that you can never go wrong buying property. Another person disagrees with them, “Obviously, you can, but as long as you’re sensible, it is one of the most reliable investments you can make.”
14: Digging for Gold
Mother knows best, and one person shared their favorite lighthearted advice from their old lady. “Never spend money unless you have to, and if you have to, spend someone else’s.”
15: Soft Skills Pay Off
While they meant well, one person’s caretakers gave some bad advice: focus on your studies; a part-time job won’t get you anywhere. “In early career, being able to point to a track record of doing basic admin tasks and working with colleagues would have been very helpful.”
16: Split It Up
A straightforward piece of parental wisdom has carried one child well through their adult life. “My mum would say: Spend half, save half. Enjoy life, but plan for the future too!”
17: Look on the Bright Side
“They [My parents] never gave me advice, good or bad, about money,” reflects one person. Instead, the child-turned-adult learned everything from books and, later, the internet. Another reassured them, “No advice is better than bad advice!”
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