Mother's Day is a day that we celebrate our moms and what they mean to us. It's a way to say thank you for their love and support. As we grow up, and even into adulthood, they are continuously teaching and preparing us for what life throws at us.
I was really surprised as I wrote this article. I realized my mom taught me so much about money. I have been passing along these concepts to my clients for over 20 years!
Here's what this financial advisor's mom taught me about money:
1. Keep some secret cash. My mom always had some extra money stashed or saved somewhere. Sometimes it was for a purpose, like one of our family vacations. Other times it was discovered in, shall we say, "unusual" places. One time my mom was cleaning out an old purse, and she found $1,200! First thing she said after finding the cash? "Don't tell your dad"! She was always stashing money for a rainy day. My Mom was teaching me about emergency reserves decades before I ever became a financial advisor! No wonder I harp about keeping 3-6 months of cash on hand for emergencies.
2. You must learn deferred gratification. I recall an episode when I was about 7- or 8-years-old. We were in Fayette Mall in Lexington, and at the time there was a toy store that I loved named Thornberry's. During this visit I fixated on a toy I really wanted. I can't even remember what it was. I screamed and cried making a scene outside the store. I told her I desperately needed the toy with exuberance by saying, "Just write a check!" My mom taught me about deferred gratification that day. Needless to say I didn't get the toy. She taught me to resist the temptation to have something right now, in order to wait for a later reward. Deferred gratification is important; it will keep you out of debt. You don't have to buy something on impulse. Wait for the purchase and you might save money, or end up deciding it wasn't that important in the first place.
3. Spend generously on what and who you love. My mom always spends lots of money on me and my brother. We had great presents for birthdays and other holidays. If it was important to us, my mom tried to buy us what we wanted. Plus, if something was important to my mother she would get it for her and my father. She prioritized her spending. If it was important to her and to her children, she spent the money. However, if it wasn't important, she could be very frugal. So my mom taught me to prioritize my spending on things and people that are really special.
4. Pay stuff off when you come into extra money. Even though my mom did teach me deferred gratification, she did use credit from time to time. However, I did learn that having all that debt was stressful. Your kids listen to everything and are watching how we handle it, so we must lead by example. My mom did pay those debts whenever she had extra money. I learned that you can use credit judiciously, but you still owe and you should pay the money back as quickly as possible. I do that to this day.
5. Make things last. My mom taught me to make things last, particularly cars. Years ago my brother bought a new car and gave my mom and dad his old car. My mom literally made it a crusade to make that second car last. That car may be close to classic status. What's more is that it has more miles on it that some of our Space Shuttles! A trip to the Moon is 238,855 miles. That Honda has more miles on it! It's had repair after repair, and it's getting tougher to find parts. My mom refuses to buy another car. I think the last new car they bought was over 10 years ago. I agree that we are all in too big a hurry to get the next best new car. Make your stuff last.
Our moms do a lot for us as we are growing up. Some of the lessons we learn will last a lifetime. Thanks mom.
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