With Thanksgiving coming up I always start to think about the people and events that made me the person I am today. The financial habits that I have created started with my parents. For some, it may be other mentors in your life that helped you financially and this can be a reminder to thank them as well.
I hope as a reader you come out with two thoughts after reading this blog. The first is to be thankful for what your parents or mentors have taught you. My second thought is if you want kids or have kids already that you think of how you want to wire your children around household finance to create good financial habits.
One of my favorite memories of my childhood is when my mom set up garage sales. I remember the amount of time that she put into them and work it took to organize our dirty garage into the neighborhood thrift store for the weekend. I remember watching people show up in our cold South Dakota spring weather and I realized I could help warm them up with some hot chocolate, and also make some money myself, so I started selling hot chocolate and lemonade when it became warmer to people that came to the sale.
As a child, we are always watching our parents and what they do trains us. Thanks to my parents I developed a good sense for saving money due to the actions my parents took of showing me how valuable money is and how important it is to save. Then when an important purchase came up I would decide if that is what I wanted to spend my money on or not because I then knew how hard money is to come across.
A major part of saving involves being responsible with your money and understanding you can’t buy everything. I am so thankful my parents didn’t spend a ton on us when we were little. It seemed my friends had more toys and the electric drivable car that I always wanted. But now I see the extra stuff is not necessary and that being responsible with your money involves making smart purchases with it.
Greater responsibility came when I was 14 and my dad took me down to the bank and opened up a checking account for me. If I remember correctly I opened that checking account with $28 from my piggy bank. I never really spent that money except for gifts and purchases I was saving up for. Due to what I had learned growing up, I knew my hard earned money was mine and I wasn’t going to spend it on frivolous unimportant items.
Thanks to my parents’ example and help I was able to start my life and start my family off on the right track financially. I know that I would not be where I am now without their help and example. And now as a father, I am going to do my best to teach my children about saving their money and spending it responsibly.
I hope these stories will help young parents and mentors out there further understand the importance of setting a good example for the children in our lives. My old kindergarten teacher told me after doing something really stupid when I was in the 5th grade that there is always someone younger watching you. Be aware of your actions as they have ripple effects.
Thank you to those that read my blogs and I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
P.S. If you would like to learn more about how financial money habits are formed then be sure to check out a great book titled Wired for Wealth written by a couple financial psychologists and a financial planner. The book talked about how the environments we grow up in wire us for certain financial habits. This book can help you get a better picture of how our brain wiring affects our financial habits.
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Steven LaFleur grew up in Rapid City, SD and after high school went to college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he majored in finance and met his wife Kelly. After college graduation in 2013, he worked for the family business for three years but eventually, Steven decided it was time to pursue a passion of his in helping people and their finances. Steven is now a financial advisor at True Measure Wealth Management in Omaha, NE. Steven and his wife Kelly have two daughters who keep them busy at all times of the day. Steven enjoys skiing in the mountains and also biking and golfing during the non-snowy months.