Thursday, February 07, 2013

Values regarding money

I am hoping to start a new blog that will cover dealing with issues with your parents as they age. But since I haven’t started it yet, I decided to write some new material about financial issues, especially as they relate to what we learned form our parents.

I feel very fortunate for most of the attitudes about money that I was raised with. My parents both were successful enough in their professions to have a comfortable amount of money, but at the same time did not have the interest or desire to spend it on extravagant things. So I was raised without having to worry about money, but also without the desire or “need” to have a lot of fancy stuff. If it was something one of us needed, there was not even a question about getting it. We shopped in regular stores – not designer prices, but also never a discount store. My parents didn’t “bargain hunt” or worry over a few dollars. And my parents would immediately offer a financial solution to problems, even to other relatives and close friends. (For example – you’re going to be stuck somewhere? We’ll rent a car for you. You lost your job? We’ll lend you some money – and rarely expected it to be paid back.)

I appreciate this most when I talk to a friend of ours whose parents are extremely wealthy, yet show the opposite approach – they spend on (what to me are) extravagant things such as cruises and fancy d├ęcor in the home – yet they have their daughter drive a barely-working car, they drive out of their way to save a penny on gas, and they worry about using heat to an absolute minimum. My friend does have a good respect for the value of money (such as buying things on sale), but I prefer the idea of spending less on the extras, and not stressing over the necessities.