We weren’t rich, we weren’t poor we were considered middle class, I suppose.
My dad worked long hours as a small business owner (he was a mechanic) and my mom worked part-time so she could take care of us. The family business was passed onto him by my grandfather who came to the states with nothing except the clothes on his back.
My grandparents immigrated to the US from Romania when my dad was just thirteen years old. They lived in New York and my grandfather established and ran a very enterprising used car sales and repair business.
I will forever be inspired by both my grandfather and his strong business sense and my father’s work ethic.
My parents raised my brother and me to understand that life is not a “free” ride; hard work and smart decisions will take you where you want to go.
We were given the ability to make our own decisions, good or bad and learn from them.
Spend or Save?
When we were younger the choice to spend or save our $2.00 / week allowance was ours to make. They never told us what to do with it, we had to decide on our own and face the consequences of that choice.
Spending all of our allowance on the day we received us left us broke until next week. That meant no “extra” treats at the store or stops at junk machines in the grocery store lobby.
Saving afforded us the ability to purchase a sought after item or a splurge if we wanted it at the end of a tortuous trip to the store.
I was the spender, my brother was the saver. I often visited his room prior to a shopping trip begging for a loan; his response was usually ok, but with interest.
Own or Borrow?
As we grew older the choices became more difficult. Get part-time jobs to pay for car insurance and gas or live the lackadaisical teenage life borrowing a car if it was available?
I jumped at the chance of freedom and responsibility and got a job as soon as I was sixteen. My family as I mentioned earlier, was in the car business, so I was given a beat up Volkswagen, but only after I had saved enough to pay the first six months of car insurance. I was never so proud of anything in my life and the fact that I could drive myself to school, work, and practice made me giddy.
My brother having no interest in obtaining a job happily borrowed a car and loved that he didn’t have to spend any of his money.
Work or Education?
Then as high school came to a close and our college years were upon us we had a choice to make; attend college, go to work, or both? We both opted for a college education but approached it in two totally different ways.
I worked full-time while carrying a hefty course load. I had been given a taste of the freedoms afforded to me while earning money and I wasn’t willing to give them up. I wanted to live on my own and that meant I had to pay for it. It was definitely hard to juggle work and school; looking back I have no idea how I survived but, somehow I did and to this day I have that same work ethic.
My brother also took on college life but chose to enjoy it to its fullest—work free living at home with mom and dad.
Did the way we were raised and the ability to make our own decisions early on in life shape our relationship with money and guide the decisions we make today? As an adult I feel that the choices I make today are based on the principles and values I gained as a child and young adult.
I hear my father’s voice in my head every time I have to make a big decision…
“If you can’t afford to pay cash, you don’t need it.”
“Do you realize how long you will have to work to pay for that?”
“How will your decision affect other aspects of your life?”
I am thankful to have been raised to appreciate hard work and given the ability to make my own decisions; learning from every one of them. Believe me; I have had some tough ones.
How about you? What did your parents teach you about hard work and money?
Like this article? Enemy of Debt has been nominated for the BEST DEBT BLOG! Being a finalist is an honor itself, but winning this award would be extremely huge! You can help Enemy of Debt win by taking a few minutes to cast your vote. You have until September 22nd to vote and you do not have to vote in every category if you do not wish to. Ashley of Money Talks Coaching and a contributing author here at Enemy of Debt, has also been nominated for BEST-KEPT SECRET. Please cast your vote and help us win. THANK YOU! 😀