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Childhood Money Lessons

The New Year is a time for hopes and dreams for change. First and foremost, I hope Leah and Eric are able to grasp the seriousness of their financial situation and make the necessary behavioral changes so they can have the life they've dreamed of together.

For myself, I dream of being able to help all Americans transform their financial lives. After 22 years as a financial planner, I recognized that when it comes to our money baggage, I lucked out! My dad is an immigrant who came to this country in 1942, dirt poor, at 13 years old. He went to college and became an engineer. My mother was born in NY, but her father died when she was 7, leaving my grandma to raise her alone in 1939, at a time when many women didn't work. My mom also went to college and became a High School teacher, although she didn't work for 11 years -- from when my older brother was born until I went to kindergarten.

For whatever reason, my parents chose to live beneath their means (truthfully they were too scared to be without, to do otherwise), and whenever my mom was working they saved ALL of her income. My mom taught me to shop on sale, and my dad taught us to buy used cars, and save and invest for the future. They never allowed us to get caught up in the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality. As a kid, it wasn't all great, I was embarrassed because I thought we were poor, but in the end they taught their kids good habits.

When I met Leah and Eric, I told them that in all of my adult life, I only one time had a credit card that didn't get paid off in one month. (And actually, that was my husband's!) I have simply never spent money that I didn't have.

I wish all people had this kind of training by their parents! I wish all parents had the skills to teach this to their kids, and I wish schools made basic finance part of the curriculum required for High School graduation. But for now, they don't, so my dream is to try to carry those lessens and that message to Americans. So for my New Year's goals, I am committed to getting my book published this year (It's Just Money, So Why Does It Cause So Many Problems?) I also want to do more public speaking, and maybe even create a public workshop helping raise awareness of the fact that money problems are more than simple's emotional!! Wish me luck, it's a big task!