Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Did you have a role model growing up?

Pin It    My dear friend at The Quest for $85000 wrote a great post on role models in her life and how it influenced her financial decisions years later. It really made me think of the role models in my life.

   We grew up poor. Not living under-the-bridge type poor but more of the-same-as-my-neighbor poor. In the Soviet Russia everyone lived about the same, and those people who lived differently...well, we didn't have any among our friends.

   My Grandma grew up during a famine in the south of the USSR. She still remembers how she and her brothers would try to find edible plants and berries in the woods, and their usual food was a turtle soup because there was an abundance of turtles where they lived. Then there was World War Two...All of this left my Grandma feeling deprived, emotionally and financially. She got a medical education, became a surgeon and worked in the ER for more than 40 years. In Russia doctors are more like teachers. They don't get paid much. But even when her experience (and salary) grew, she still never had enough. She never talked about her financial problems. Every time after she got a salary, she behaved like she was rich buying clothes and things she didn't need, stuffing the fridge with food she couldn't possibly consume before it went bad. Surely enough, by the end of the month she had no money at all and ate buckwheat for days in a row. And then with a new salary the cycle would start all over again.

   It's not surprising that growing up in a house with a Mom who worked too much and had too much, my Dad felt deprived too, but mostly of attention. My Dad is amazing but he made some poor decisions with finances just as my Grandma did/does. The difference is he likes to spend money on gifts, little meaningful things ( like a million fridge magnets that he got for me over the years...They are cute and all but I do love my fridge clean...Inside and out.) He loves to buy surprises for others. Now that my parents' financial situation is better, they can at least afford those things but when I was a kid, it drove my Mom insane.

   My Mom grew up in a financially sound house. My Grandpa on her side worked a lot. Her Mom died when she was very young, and he married again. Her step mom kept a meticulously clean house and the same order in their finances. She taught my Mom how to make good decisions with her money and prepared her for trials in life too.

   As I said before, when my parents got married, they had very little. So my Mom would teach us how to stretch a dollar (or a ruble in our case) very far. One thing I'm grateful for that my parents did is that they never lied to me or my sister about family finances.They didn't give us details but they never pretended either. We didn't have the latest toys or clothes but we were always dressed in good clothes (made by my Mom 90% of the time), we were fed, we had enough. They taught us how to work hard. I had my first job (tutoring) at 14. Over the years I've learned both from their mistakes and their successes. My Dad's wasteful habits softened over the years of being married to my Mom. He's still terrible with saving money though (my mom has a separate account for their retirement and a couple of stashes:).

   I'm grateful for all of these experiences. I'm not perfect with our finances but all of these role models in my life (or not exactly role models...) taught me to be serious about money. I love nice things (my Grandma here...), I love to give gifts but I value hard work, I understand the importance of budgeting and saving. I hope we will be able to teach our boys all these things. We don't have much but our kids are dressed and fed, and have a roof over their heads. I'm grateful for all the blessings in our life! And I do hope we can teach our kids the importance of gratitude and care. I might sound like a cliche but I'm grateful that my parents taught me how to love in different circumstances in life.

   Did you have a role model in your life growing up? What did you learn from this person? Did anybody show you a great example in life about managing finances? Who inspires you?

All this conversation about my parents make me so anxious for tomorrow...because my parents are coming!!:)

17 comments:

  1. Thank you for the mention Lena :) It sounds as though you are doing a great job with your finances and especially with your boys. Be proud. Hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable time with your parents!

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  2. It was interesting to read about the role models in your life. It is good that you have thought about them and the influences they have made on you and are able to use the best from each. Sometimes bad habits and ways are carried on from generation to generation because people haven't been able to put in context what has come before them.

    I grew up under very sensible parents who influence everything I do. Luckily, my husband has a similar background and we agree on most money issues. That makes thing a lot easier.

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    1. That's wonderful. My husband and I have very different background financially but lots of other things in life definitely brought us on the same page.

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  3. My nana was a great role model, a hard worker and one of thirteen children, so she could turn her hand at anything around a house. She was a strong lady and I learned a lot from her.

    I know how you feel when your parents come to visit, you'll know doubt been in a cleaning frenzy these past few weeks, I always am.

    Enjoy their company, how long are they coming for?

    Gill

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    1. Yeah, I've been cleaning for the past two weeks:) They will only stay here for a couple of weeks- one with me and one with my sister.

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  4. A most wonderful honest account of life growing up from your eyes, Lena. I really enjoyed the read. I too came from a very poor family where a dollar had to stretch and everything was paid on "time". I am sure this is where I gained my budgeting skills from, learning to prepare one's self for those "meager" times. I still do so as those times still loom above my head at times. Some might call me or you cheap, but I call us "sensible" by living within our means ! xx

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    1. I absolutely agree! And if they call me cheap, too bad for them, right?:)

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  5. WONDERFUL post!!!!! I too had role models that gave me the base of how I treat money as an adult. How exciting your parents are on their way!!

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    1. I can't wait for them to get here. It's the first year of our marriage that I'm going to see them twice in one year.

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  6. Well, everyone's had role models. The question is if they were good or bad ones. I had my parents. They never did let me or my siblings get close to anyone else (family or not), so I couldn't find an external rolemodel if I wanted to. I knew there were rich(er) people and poor(er) people, but it didn't make much of a difference. My parents were the Joneses. And who do the Joneses keep up with? I have no idea, but that's who my parents were after. We had a lot of fancy electronics (though if I need to justify that, we were not allowed outside the house, not even to the door, at any time, for any reason. No sleepovers or going to a friends' house, not going to a park, even to after-school get togethers or activities, so electronics and video games saved us from being bored to death). Now I see that my parents were terrible money handlers. My dad made/makes the most money, but couldn't be bothered with it. So he handed it off to my mother, who is quite the hoarder, and always spends much more than she has. She thinks credit cards are the best idea since sliced bread, and doesn't think paying interest is a bad thing. So yeah, I had bad role models, and I couldn't think of anybody that was or could've been a financial role model for me. However, even with that example, I was a compulsive saver. We werent allowed to buy things (or have an opinion, preferrence or say on anything), but we'd sneak to buy colored pencils and stickers at the corner store on our way home. I also gave a lot of my money away to in-school charity to buy stuff for our classroom. I guess not having a say or opinion on what to buy for myself still carries today, since I hate shopping for myself.

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    1. I noticed already that your parents aren't exactly great examples in money management but I'm glad you broke this cycle! You are making the right choices with your finances, and I believe by their age you will have a much more sound future.

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  7. Both my parents were pretty good with their money, my Dad even more so and I have learned a lot of fabulous things from them. In fact, we still go to them for advice. Every good decision I have made has been partly due to my parents. Hope you enjoy your time with your family. I am excited for you.

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  8. Loved this post, Lena... I grew up poor too. Single mother, never enough money to cover the bills & food on the table. I learned things too, but more how important working on your marriage is, always to have money set aside 'just in case', & giving to others is the best way to show your gratitude to God for his provision! :)

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  9. My parents are really good with money. Both grew up during the Great Depression, and they learned to save. My Dad saved money for all our college educations and also saved enough to provide for my disabled sister. He paid cash for cars. He was always obsessed with the stock market, and it has paid off for him, even though the last few years have been challenging. They never budgeted, but they kept track of money well and were thrifty.

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  10. We grew up very poor. The only thing that saved us food wise is we lived on a small hobby farm. So we had an acre garden in the summer and lots of animals. I have eaten pigeon, quail, pheasant, rabbit, duck, geese etc. My dad was disabled but there was no disability pension at that time. He hussled to keep the family in shoes. My mom always made Christmas special and I later learned by using a credit card and then paying it off during the year to start again. I have to admit I am a spender, I guess with no having much as a child, I overcompensate now. My girls always had a decent christmas but it was paid for in cash. They knew our finances and knew we couldn't afford different things but there was always food on the table and a roof over our heads. I am now starting to not buy like I used to. I am in my beginning forties and my girls are grown ladies now. They both love to hunt for bargains, use coupons and are proud when they save money on something but they are spenders as well.

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