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What is your family's financial heredity?

January 6th, 2008 at 05:44 am

It's interesting that to a large degree in both my parents and my wife's parents, the man solely supported the family at first in the traditional model. But then the women took over for Act II, supporting the families from roughly age 50 or so.

But even more interesting to me is that both families sort of just barely got by, and yet the impact this had on my wife and I has been very different. It turned me into a natural cheapskate, very at home here. But to her, it meant giving her daughters what she never had. Both very reasonable reactions. But needless to say, it has caused trouble and conflict and led to our current less than ideal financial situation. I should also say that neither of us learned squat about finances from our parents or anyone else really, and we have unfortunately repeated that mistake in our daughters. For some reason I don't think our schools here ever had a class like that for kids, but I'll have to double check that, especially for the one still in high school where there is still time.

So I know what we need to do, to instill financial common sense in all of us, but I need a strategy, mainly a way to broach the subject. We are in this mess because whenever I bring up money, I get stonewalled. So I've often thought we needed a combined marriage/financial counselor, but as you might expect, I'm much too cheap to seek out and pay such a person, if they even exist. But as I'm sure many of you here know, there is a difference between being financially sensible and just plain being cheap. If there really was such a person and I had gone to him years ago, we would almost certainly be better off.

And lest it sound like I am laying too much at the feet of my wife, I am the one who allowed this to happen, it's my life that is affected, so I have to take some blame for not dealing with my problems in a timely and effective manner. Man, life is complex! I just wanted to get married and live comfortably.

5 Responses to “What is your family's financial heredity?”

  1. luxliving Says:

    I'm not sure exactly HOW-TO, but surely you're in the need of a same spirit/team attitude for the whole family.

    We've had to keep telling ourselves as we work together on the budget that we are heading somewhere specific and times will not always call for bare-bones living. That there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we're heading there TOGETHER.

    Good luck to you Ralph. Perhaps for you and your wife the David Bach series on 'Smart Couples Finish Rich' would be helpful? First, to see if it's helpful for you, check it out for FREE at your local public library!

  2. Ralph Says:

    I'll check it out - thanks, luxliving. BTW, as I checked out your blog, (very artsy BTW!), I feel compelled to tell you I'm also an INFJ - we are supposed to be a rare breed! It sounds like you did good finding a hubby with a similar type. I sometimes bounced between the P and the J, and the T and the F, but the I and the N are pretty solid. Funny, on the main forum I frequent, there is one guy who bases his whole life on this stuff (not that there's anything wrong with that!), and he gets endless abuse, but he loves it! Anyway, it's sort of cool being "special", isn't it? Smile

  3. Ima saver Says:

    I was very poor growning up cause my father died when I was young. I am actually thankful that I had a mother who pinched pennies as a roll model. I handle all the finances, but my husband and I are pretty much on the same page. You just need to get with your wife once a week, sit down, and talk about money. Maybe she would like to read some on this forum??

  4. Ralph Says:

    "First, to see if it's helpful for you, check it out for FREE at your local public library!"

    Done! Thanks very much, luxliving - from looking at it on Amazon it looks very good!

  5. Broken Arrow Says:

    My parents on my father's side has always been fairly wealthy. As such... frugality isn't emphasized much in their family culture. If a man wanted more money, he would get a better job and/or work longer.

    My parents on my mother's side has always been fairly poor. My grandfather on my mother's side died early during a training accident in the military, and my mother has always scraped by as a single mother to raise her children. As such, frugality was very much emphasized in their family culture. If a woman wanted more money, she would simply scrimp enough until she got it.

    Together, my parents are an interesting financial dichotomy. Thanks to my father's relatively lucrative career, and my mother's adeptness at frugality, growing up, we siblings never had to experience first-hand what it means to be poor.

    My own financial education didn't come until only very recently, when I became divorced, and tried to understand what went wrong. Eventually, I concluded that our marriage fell apart due to the stress from debt and lack of money.

    I never learned to be financially responsible, and neither did my ex-wife. However, having learned it now, I have embarked on a path to take the best of both worlds from my parents: A world of frugality as well as a world of meaningful earned income. I also plan to add my own twist to the formula with investing.

    As for my children, I try my very best to guide them towards financial responsibility. It isn't easy, and ultimately, I can only lead them to the water. The rest is up to them.

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