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How financially "tough" were your parents on you?

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  • How financially "tough" were your parents on you?

    This is just an extension of WCI's most recent blog post.

    Based on the comment section of the post, I'm not really sure how I turned out the way I did. I was an only child from an upper-middle class home and looking back, I was basically given anything I really wanted (which turned out to only be video games and sporting goods). I inherited my dad's car because his vision failed and he stopped driving. I didn't work during high school or college, short of being a freelance golf instructor in the summer. And I had my college paid for at an expensive private university. Based on my upbringing, I should have been a candidate for MTV's "My Super Sweet 16" (though my actually 16th birthday party was in the back yard around a bond fire).
    As an adult, I've discussed my parent's leniency with them and they basically told me they never pushed to make things financially "hard" on me because I was naturally frugal I never abused the privilege. Somehow it worked, because my folks even offered to pay for medical school as well and I turned them down because it didn't feel right as an adult to be taking that kind of money. Instead, I found WCI during med school, my wife and I lived below our means, and we payed off my loans before residency ended.

    So how was everyone else raised? Did anyone else have a silver spoon in their mouth but still turned out to be fiscally prudent?

  • #2
    I grew up in an upper middle class (at least for our area) family but was expected to work and got my first job cleaning my aunt's house when I was around 12 ($10/wk). I also had the opportunity to work at my dad's printing business and started there at around 14 stuffing envelopes for advertising mailers for a penny per envelope. We were expected to buy all our own clothes, makeup, meals out, etc. We also bought our own cars but dad paid for gas, insurance, and maintenance. He helped me open a bank account pretty young but I had no concept of how a bank account worked and kept overdrawing it. Finally, he asked the VP of the bank to call me and chew me out one day while I was at work at the printing co. That both embarrassed and terrified me and I got my act together after that.

    I passed these values down to both boys, who began doing their own laundry, mowing, etc. beginning at 10 and 8. They also were expected to work and pay their own personal expenses. Fortunately, Roth IRAs were created when they were in their teens and they have each had one since the very first year. One son now makes a lot of money and he and his wife have a kind of doctor lifestyle (not referring to the doctors on WCI). The other son makes about 1/3 the amount of his little brother as a firefighter and home inspector and has invested in real estate and squirreled away so much that he and his wife are debt-free with an enviable balance sheet. Of course, he was the one who used to buy a pack of gum, take it to school, and sell the pieces to make a profit.
    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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    • #3
      My father gave me a legitimate job in his orthodontics practice that I was able to do from home from about age 12-16, when I passed it to my little sister. She passed it back to me when I was in college and med school. In summers during high school, after the age of 16, I had a job at a soft serve ice cream shop and worked a little bit during the school year, mostly in the spring when volume was picking up. I was encouraged to work but also strongly encouraged to do well in school such that school responsibilities always trumped jobs and such. College summers (all two of them) were spent in classes, and med school summers were spent working in a lab for pay.

      On the other hand, it was expected that all of my education (private high school, college, and med school) would be paid for by my parents. By most standards, I had it easy.

      My son, 17, is a self-starter and enjoys his part time job during the school year while playing varsity sports and carrying a six course load in a competitive prep school. Oh, and he managed to win a President's Volunteer Service Award (100+ hours), too. I am very proud, often amazed, that he is able to juggle it all. It helps, of course, that he does not have to worry about basic expenses, and he has a car at his disposal. Is he spoiled? Yes. Do I worry about it? No.

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      • #4
        I come from two uneducated, financially illiterate (incompetent probably better word) parents. My dad would rack up credit card debts chasing women. If I wanted something, they'd tell me to wait for Christmas or my birthday, so I always had to invest time into stuff, not so much money. But I've been a natural hoarder all my life so saving money is easy for me. I had to get a scholarship for undergrad and have loans for medical school. I have only recently taken on a huge mission to educate myself financially, so I know what I'm doing. Too bad I wasted my 20s...

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        • #5
          I had it as "good" as you could possibly have it.. Dad was a doc who just blew through a very high income. I was busy in sports/school but never had a job, got anything/everything I wanted, ect..

          I turned out fine because I see where my dad is now and I don't want to end up like him, but I have some siblings who have those bad habits but won't have near the income to support those habits so they'll be screwed.


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          • #6
            Parents: not

            Grand parents: very-not

            I think pretty much all of the social science research suggests that your child's peer group will have far more of an effect on their behavior than you will. What I've seen so far in my life has confirmed this.

             

            I wouldn't overthink paying them to mow the lawn.

             

            Schools on the other hand....

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            • #7




              Parents: not

              Grand parents: very-not

              I think pretty much all of the social science research suggests that your child’s peer group will have far more of an effect on their behavior than you will. What I’ve seen so far in my life has confirmed this.

               

              I wouldn’t overthink paying them to mow the lawn.

               

              Schools on the other hand….
              Click to expand...


              I also enjoyed "No two alike" by Judith Rich, however I did listen to my mother .

              My personal story is that my sister worked as cleaner at age 15 to make extra money and my mother told me that I should not get a job outside doing well in  school, because I would find out that work sucked and why work for peanuts if you do not have to.

              I had no intention to do a gruelly part time job after at age 12 after  I had a mail delivery route, which sucked the life right out of me.

              I only did jobs in college and medical school, which I considered were a gift. E.g. I was a sperm donor and felt remarkably well  very reimbursed.

              I never felt I was financially stressed till I was in private practice and bit off much more than I was comfortable with.

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              • #8
                I came from a middle class background. My dad was career military and then worked for the army as a civilian. I grew up seeing him stuff money each week into 2 boxes labeled Christmas and vacation. He did buy me my first 2 cars and paid insurance on them until I finished residency. I worked on a sewing assembly line in high school. And frying fish and chips in college. I took out loans for med school and had an academic scholarship. I felt like that I made enough money in residency to support myself so I did not moonlight.  I felt spoiled growing up but I am not sure why.

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                • #9
                  Interesting thread. No kids yet but I wonder about this all the time. Seems like multiple approaches each with inconsistent results (reassuring to me).

                   

                  Me: two frugal parents, upper middle class income, no financial ed growing up except passively absorbing the idea that you shouldn't spend too much. I have 2 sibs. We weren't expected to have jobs, each of us given a used car with gas/insurance paid. One definite positive I think is that our consumption was otherwise constrained growing up, e.g. a $50 video game was something that had to wait for birthday/Christmas.

                  - I got summer jobs/internships/volunteer experiences in highschool and college, great grades/scores but never worked all that hard to get them, worked part time in undergrad and med, chose undergrad and med based on financial value/scholarship availability, etc... self-taught and self-directed all the way but hardly had it rough

                  - 1 sib got his act together in college, started working part time there,average grades but worked ************************ hard to get them, hustled for internships and employment, still lives frugally, e.g. had a 401k with his first job out of college so (independent of me) sought to self-educate and found bogleheads, etc

                  - Other sib is finishing college without a plan, average grades and not working hard to get them, never sought jobs or internships (and never pushed very hard by my parents to get one)

                   

                  Wife and I are pretty convinced of 1) expecting them to at least have summer jobs, 2) some form of roth match incentive and other early financial ed, 3) college help up to the cost of a public state school. We'll see beyond that but I've taken Dr. Mom's suggestion multiple times in the comment section to set expectations and stick with them.

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                  • #10
                    My parents did not have a choice to be tough or easy on us.

                    They split when we were very young and we were raised by a single mom (dad left the country so no child support etc).  We were on poverty level income and had nothing growing up.  We got socks/underwear for Christmas/birthdays (but it was the Hanes buy 3 get 1 free pack!).  Video games/sports gear/extracurricular activities that wasn't free was out of the question.  We had to skip or had very light dinners once in a while and it was hard trying to fall asleep being hungry.  The good news is that we studied hard and earned full scholarships to flagship state universities.  We did have to take out loans for medical/dental schools but all of us are doing great now.

                    I am often worried about my kids, by living a much easier life - that they may not study as hard/aspire to do as well as we did.  However, by seeing the posts here about how successful people are coming from middle/upper mid families - it gives me great hope that the opportunities given to them will allow them to achieve even more than I have.

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                    • #11




                      My parents did not have a choice to be tough or easy on us.

                      They split when we were very young and we were raised by a single mom (dad left the country so no child support etc).  We were on poverty level income and had nothing growing up.  We got socks/underwear for Christmas/birthdays (but it was the Hanes buy 3 get 1 free pack!).  Video games/sports gear/extracurricular activities that wasn’t free was out of the question.  We had to skip or had very light dinners once in a while and it was hard trying to fall asleep being hungry.  The good news is that we studied hard and earned full scholarships to flagship state universities.  We did have to take out loans for medical/dental schools but all of us are doing great now.

                      I am often worried about my kids, by living a much easier life – that they may not study as hard/aspire to do as well as we did.  However, by seeing the posts here about how successful people are coming from middle/upper mid families – it gives me great hope that the opportunities given to them will allow them to achieve even more than I have.
                      Click to expand...


                      This is similar to myself, the only money I ever handled was the old funny colored food stamp money that was embarrassing to use. Hard to know much about money when you dont know anyone with it at all and are the most successful person in your family. I was at one time concerned about it, but turns out I am not very wealthy yet, and maybe from upbringing just dont think kids need to have everything they want. Any and all educational opportunities they aspire to, yes for sure. Junk? Could not care less.

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                      • #12




                        This is similar to myself, the only money I ever handled was the old funny colored food stamp money that was embarrassing to use. Hard to know much about money when you dont know anyone with it at all and are the most successful person in your family. I was at one time concerned about it, but turns out I am not very wealthy yet, and maybe from upbringing just dont think kids need to have everything they want. Any and all educational opportunities they aspire to, yes for sure. Junk? Could not care less.

                        Click to expand...


                        I'm curious about your view on paying to harness your kids' talents that are not strictly educational.

                        For example, would you pay for extra violin, guitar, or piano lessons? What about a private painting teacher or public speaking coach? Or to the extreme, how about sending your kid to board at Shattuck-St. Mary's (for hockey) or IMG Academy (most other sports) to try to play a D1 sport?

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                        • #13







                          This is similar to myself, the only money I ever handled was the old funny colored food stamp money that was embarrassing to use. Hard to know much about money when you dont know anyone with it at all and are the most successful person in your family. I was at one time concerned about it, but turns out I am not very wealthy yet, and maybe from upbringing just dont think kids need to have everything they want. Any and all educational opportunities they aspire to, yes for sure. Junk? Could not care less.

                          Click to expand…


                          I’m curious about your view on paying to harness your kids’ talents that are not strictly educational.

                          For example, would you pay for extra violin, guitar, or piano lessons? What about a private painting teacher or public speaking coach? Or to the extreme, how about sending your kid to board at Shattuck-St. Mary’s (for hockey) or IMG Academy (most other sports) to try to play a D1 sport?
                          Click to expand...


                          I dont think theres anything wrong with those things, and I plan on getting them all involved to the extent of their abilities and desires. They just have to put in their contribution of effort. My wife played D1 tennis on a scholarship so we know the value of lessons and dedication to that sort of thing.

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                          • #14




                            My parents did not have a choice to be tough or easy on us.

                            They split when we were very young and we were raised by a single mom (dad left the country so no child support etc).  We were on poverty level income and had nothing growing up.  We got socks/underwear for Christmas/birthdays (but it was the Hanes buy 3 get 1 free pack!).  Video games/sports gear/extracurricular activities that wasn’t free was out of the question.  We had to skip or had very light dinners once in a while and it was hard trying to fall asleep being hungry.  The good news is that we studied hard and earned full scholarships to flagship state universities.  We did have to take out loans for medical/dental schools but all of us are doing great now.

                            I am often worried about my kids, by living a much easier life – that they may not study as hard/aspire to do as well as we did.  However, by seeing the posts here about how successful people are coming from middle/upper mid families – it gives me great hope that the opportunities given to them will allow them to achieve even more than I have.
                            Click to expand...


                            I also came from a family with poverty level income.  I remember worrying about money my whole childhood and whether we would lose our home, which did not happen until I was in medical school and by then I was on my own.  My husband and I do not have children yet but one of my biggest concerns is how to train children who do not live in poverty (like myself) to strive for the best. Obviously many other people on this forum are successful from successful families, but I know that my driving force has always been by fear of not having enough money for to survive.

                            Comment


                            • #15


                              I also came from a family with poverty level income.  I remember worrying about money my whole childhood and whether we would lose our home, which did not happen until I was in medical school and by then I was on my own.  My husband and I do not have children yet but one of my biggest concerns is how to train children who do not live in poverty (like myself) to strive for the best. Obviously many other people on this forum are successful from successful families, but I know that my driving force has always been by fear of not having enough money for to survive.
                              Click to expand...


                              Your story is touching. Carl Richard's post today made me think of you and others who have posted about growing up in poverty or financially troubled homes.

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                              Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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