Financial Lesson Our Mothers Taught Us
It’s May, and that means Mother’s Day! As you know, Mother’s Day is a chance to tell our Moms how much we love and appreciate them. A chance to say “thanks” for keeping us clothed and fed, safe and warm.
Yes, mothers sure do a lot, don’t they? But did you know that most mothers play a huge role in our finances, too?
It’s not a role we talk about very often—and it’s certainly not a role they get a lot of credit for. But when you think about it, mothers are hugely important in shaping a child’s financial future. That’s because they’re often the first people to teach us good habits and important principals—principals that remain with us for the rest of our lives.
So in honor of Mother’s Day, I would like to pay tribute to:
THREE FINANCIAL PRINCIPLES OUR MOTHERS TAUGHT US
1. Don’t waste your money on impulse purchases!
Do you remember when your mom used to drag you along to the grocery store when you were a kid? Do you remember standing in the checkout aisle, begging for one of the candy bars on display? After all, it seemed the least your mom could do given the fact she made you come all the way to the store with her!
But inevitably, your mom said “No, that’s not what we came here for.” And that was that.
This may have been frustrating at the time, but your mom was actually doing you a tremendous favor: she was teaching you not to make impulse purchases.
Most of us earn money for three reasons: to pay for our basic needs (like food, shelter, clothes, etc.), to pay for goods or services we find enjoyable, or to save for a future goal or dream. But impulse purchases, whether they’re as harmless as buying a candy bar, or as significant as getting that new electronic gadget everyone’s talking about, can be an enormous drain on your finances. While it’s true that whatever you decide might be enjoyable, that pleasure tends to dissipate fairly quickly.
So when your mom said, “That’s not what we’re here for,” she was actually giving you a great bit of advice! One of the best ways to grow your money and afford the things you truly want (as opposed to what you merely want right now) is to remember “what you’re really here for.”
2. The importance of saving and investing
Remember that summer when you decided to open up a lemonade stand outside your front house? Chances are, your mom paid for the lemons, cups, and whatever else you needed. But she also did more than that. Imagine showing your mom all the money you earned—all those quarters, dimes, and the odd dollar bill. Instead of letting you blow it all on bubblegum or trading cards, she probably told you to stick some of it in your piggy bank. “After all,” she’d say, “if you save up enough money, you’ll be able to buy that 10-speed bike you keep talking about.”
In other words, your mom taught you the importance of saving.
In fact, chances are she did more than that. “You know,” she’d probably say, “if you take some of the money you earned, you could use it to buy better lemons. Or you could use it to buy the materials you need to make advertising signs and flyers.” Soon, you were attracting more customers, selling more lemonade, and making more money.
So in a sense, your mom taught you the importance of investing.
Fast forward to today. Saving and investing are a big part of reaching your financial goals, aren’t they? So whenever you check off another item on your personal bucket list, make sure to thank your mom.
3. The basics of financial planning
When you were a kid, you probably saw your mom take the time to balance the checkbook or hang a “to do” list on the refrigerator. You probably didn’t think much of it at the time, but your mom was demonstrating the basics of financial planning.
Financial planning is the process of determining what you want, what you need, and what you must to do to acquire both. It’s that simple. And that’s what your mom did every day, every week, every month. She devoted so much of her time and energy into determining what the family wanted (a vacation to Disneyland, presents under the Christmas tree), needed (new clothes for the kids, food in the refrigerator, college tuition), and how much she’d have to earn, save, (and when times were lean, maybe even scrimp) to get the family both. All throughout your childhood, your mom never stopped planning for the future.
And that’s why you never stop planning, either.
So this Mother’s Day, let’s make sure we all take the time to tell our moms “thanks.” Thanks for always being there. Thanks for every headache, heartache, and sacrifice on our behalf. Most of all, thanks for every lesson—about money, life, and everything.
Remember: our moms have always invested in us. Let’s make Mother’s Day one small return on that investment. On behalf of everyone here at Bowers Advisory Group, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.