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  • Childhood life vs now

    How is your financial life compared to what you experienced in childhood? And what do you think about your children's future financial life?

    We always want our kids to live a better life but as physicians in the top 1-5% it will be hard for them to do so. In a similar vein most of us are probably doing much better than our parents.


    This is one of my motivations to live below our means. I do not want to start the lifestyle inflation so early in my kids. I want them to be able to live a similar life with an average job.

  • #2
    Financial situation is much better than growing up but I still grew up in a loving household. I never was at the point where I went hungry but looking back I know things would get pretty tight sometimes.

    This is something that has had me thinking about quite a bit lately. I think growing up with some struggle is beneficial in some situations if the person struggling has the tools necessary to persist, overcome, and succeed. We're in a position with our daughter that she'll never struggle from a financial standpoint growing up. Struggling from a financial standpoint, in my experience, has been key in critical thinking development and problem solving skills. If you don't have money to get something fixed then you better find out how it works and fix it. You become a lot more imaginative and creative with finding your own (cheap) fun. I'm not sure exactly how to instill those concepts yet. How do you struggle without struggling?

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    • #3
      Well my life is substantially better- we qualified for free lunch, my mom made most of my clothes, we only took one real vacation, I didn't fly on an airplane until I was a senior in high school, I started working when I was 12 . . . And I heard my parents fighting about money constantly so I was always worried about it. I had 5 siblings and resources of all kinds were stretched thin. I did not want that for my kids. They have enough but I try hard to find that balance so they aren't spoiled and entitled. While they may not make as much as we do, I think with our financial education, setting them up to enter the job force debt free in their 20s and future possible inheritances, they will be just fine. I also hope to be able to travel as a family, with their families as well to provide opportunities they may not otherwise have.

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      • #4
        Completely different. I was a pre teen when my parents divorced, and that’s the last thing I want for my kid to have to have to live with. And while we weren’t the poorest people, there was definitely a lot of sacrifice. We rarely got new clothes, lots of our clothes were homemade and hand me downs, and barely traveled. We got free school lunch, but never went hungry or wondered where are next meal was coming from. My mom was an amazing saver and could stretch the budget very far.

        I too struggle with the balance wanting to give my child a better life and not wanting to spoil her. But her life will be way different than mine growing up and hopefully it’s for the better.

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        • #5
          much better.

          my parents are both docs but they made every financial mistake in the book. my dad did quite well but was very frugal and he was the only one making money to support everyone, i never wanted for anything but never had much beyond that. when Jim writes or talks about having unreliable transportation i understand what that life is like.

          i never want anyone to confuse my upbringing with any kind of material want, i certainly never wondered where my food was going to come from, although when we were with my mom we lived a very lower middle class life. for example she had the carpet taken up on the ground floor of her house and never replaced it, we just lived with the concrete.

          i didn't take a real vacation until i was in residency. we would sometimes drive out to go camp in nat'l parks etc but more often than not just visited family. probably flew on an airplane 5x between the time i was a kid and when i started med school.

          both of my parents exercised and still exercise what i would call pathological frugality and have a terrible relationship with money. neither of them understand how to trade money for convenience or happiness.

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          • #6
            Parents were working poor, didn’t make great financial decisions...filed for bankruptcy 3 times before I graduated high school. Made too much for govt assistance but , living paycheck to paycheck, multiple credit cards maxed out.

            better now for sure

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MPMD View Post
              much better.

              my parents are both docs but they made every financial mistake in the book. my dad did quite well but was very frugal and he was the only one making money to support everyone, i never wanted for anything but never had much beyond that. when Jim writes or talks about having unreliable transportation i understand what that life is like.

              i never want anyone to confuse my upbringing with any kind of material want, i certainly never wondered where my food was going to come from, although when we were with my mom we lived a very lower middle class life. for example she had the carpet taken up on the ground floor of her house and never replaced it, we just lived with the concrete.

              i didn't take a real vacation until i was in residency. we would sometimes drive out to go camp in nat'l parks etc but more often than not just visited family. probably flew on an airplane 5x between the time i was a kid and when i started med school.

              both of my parents exercised and still exercise what i would call pathological frugality and have a terrible relationship with money. neither of them understand how to trade money for convenience or happiness.
              Are they super loaded or is the money being wasted in some way?

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              • #8
                Similar. I make less than my dad did but I can buy more with it. Most of my day is preoccupied with stuff that didn't exist then.

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                • #9
                  My dad was a resident til I was in middle school and my mom stayed at home. Later my dad's income was much much higher inflation adjusted than mine is now but he was a saver and most of that happened after I left home so at no point did I live an upscale life. So growing up we had less money but certainly enough. However we had a lot more time. Now we both work and our lives are hectic, chaotic, which makes Our lives less rich in some ways.

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                  • #10
                    Solidly upper middle class, great household. Never wanted for anything but also expected to have summer job by age 12 and our vacations were a week at the beach, never anything more.

                    While people worry that having exposure to money will spoil a child, my experience was different. I always knew I wouldn't receive much help from parents beyond college and I also knew that I didn't want to be poor. Thus, I always worked hard and that was key to my getting into medical school and onward. Ironically, now I live a pretty middle class lifestyle (definitely lower than what I grew up with) despite having money to do much more.

                    I think most children will thrive in adulthood even growing up in a household with plenty of money, as long as they don't expect to be on the household dime as adults or expect a substantial inheritance.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
                      This is one of my motivations to live below our means. I do not want to start the lifestyle inflation so early in my kids. I want them to be able to live a similar life with an average job.
                      Wife came from a much lower income family.
                      I was upper middle class.
                      Both of us had a one income household with multiple siblings (7 and 5 for me).
                      Life was different then, you own bedroom and bath, car, college anywhere in the nation you could get in and just the modern conveniences in housing, food options and activities are so different. Select travel teams for sports and summer education programs are all new. We didn’t have elite big name) sport camps, tournaments and it’s surprising how much we spent on gear and fees and travel.
                      I rationalize it that two kids with two working parents never felt anything was beyond financial reach. With inflation, I can’t really grasp dollars. But my kids definitely had it better. My kids were raised to be goal oriented. The mother and I were more left to completely choose your own path. I’ll let you know in 30 years how that worked out.
                      I see no reason for wasteful spending. But I also see no benefits to artificial financial barriers. If they have a goal, I would support them. Got to work for it though.

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                      • #12
                        My kids’ lives are substantially better than mine, not because my childhood was bad, theirs is just amazing. My parents were solidly middle class, trending towards upper middle class by the time I left home. I never worried about food or clothes, but we only went on maybe one vacation a year, and always somewhere we could drive to, or stay with extended family. Money was always tight—my mom made some of our clothes, my younger brother wore hand me downs, and we never had Nike Air or Guess or Girbaud (I’m aging myself here ).

                        Now, my kids live in a very 1%er household. They’ve traveled all over, they eat amazing food, and have had experiences I could have only dreamed of (Broadway shows on Broadway, major league and college games of all sports, VIP experiences at zoos and aquariums, private sports lessons, etc).

                        I definitely worry about my children never being able to live the life I live or that they’re living now, but I also recognize one doesn’t need that to be content. I’ll be able to pay for their college and some or all of their grad school. We make them work for things, we tell them “no” a lot, and try and put them in positions where they need to develop grit. Hopefully it’s good enough.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
                          How is your financial life compared to what you experienced in childhood? And what do you think about your children's future financial life?

                          We always want our kids to live a better life but as physicians in the top 1-5% it will be hard for them to do so. In a similar vein most of us are probably doing much better than our parents.


                          This is one of my motivations to live below our means. I do not want to start the lifestyle inflation so early in my kids. I want them to be able to live a similar life with an average job.
                          Teach them. Teach by example. The fact that you are asking the right questions and have the right goals means you are likely doing well.

                          You got this.

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                          • #14
                            “My children”, just remember it’s almost guaranteed that two children will end up with different results. Happy well adjusted productive adults is the goal. Wealth or income is not a measure of successful parenting.
                            Success is when the “kids” call to check on you.
                            The torch has passed.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tim View Post
                              “My children”, just remember it’s almost guaranteed that two children will end up with different results. Happy well adjusted productive adults is the goal. Wealth or income is not a measure of successful parenting.
                              Success is when the “kids” call to check on you.
                              The torch has passed.
                              I figured I would have a better chance of getting one right if I had a bunch.

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