If old adages are meant to offer guidance about the world, none ring truer than “Hindsight is 20/20.” Unfortunately, unless we have a time machine, we are caught in a Catch-22 when we try to apply it. So why not listen to other people’s hindsight instead?

That was my motivation when I reached out to my network and asked them “What did your parents teach you about money?” The responses were informative, inspiring and well thought-out. Here are some of them:

  • My parents never spoke with me about money at all. It was a taboo and secret topic. On top of that my mother was extremely financially irresponsible. Spending way beyond her means and then just not paying her bills. Debt collectors were calling the house constantly. You can imagine without any other information or conversations with them the views I formed about money! 🙂 My absolute resolve to never turn out like my mother is a large part of what drove me to succeed. I was never going to turn out like her! (and didn’t thank God). I wish they had told me more, had open conversations, taught me how to “balance” my checkbook, about investing, stock market etc. I learned it all on my own.
  • What my parents taught me early on was whatever money I made, to save some of it. Over the years, you build a nest egg, invest wisely and diversify early but you always will have money and a foundation. Then your life’s work will take you from there and hopefully from those early lessons you learned from your parents, it will carry through. I know because it’s worked for me and I’m sure many others as well.
  • I wish someone had strongly talked me into getting a prenup and I wish I’d learned about budgeting and building an emergency fund before setting out on my own. I also think everyone needs a better understanding of what advisors they need and how to hire them. (Thinking of CPAs, money managers, financial planners, etc).
  • In general, the topic doesn’t come up as much with women talking amongst women as it does with men talking amongst men. You know, men are taught to talk about the market with their buddies but women aren’t. I really only have one girlfriend with whom we have shared a lot about our financial situations/plans/investments etc.
  • My first thought is not to give in to the insanity around you as a young person buying a house or a middle-aged parent sending kids to college. Plenty of folks have done this before and gotten through it. Stay away from self help books unless you first have a solid spiritual foundation yourself. Most of them simply add to panic. We have everything we need to make these decisions.

What knowledge have you accumulated over the years? I would love to hear from you! My inbox is always open at judy@judithheft.com.