Yesterday was Mother’s Day in North America. In France, Mother’s Day always falls on the last Sunday of May. Since I have moved to Canada, my mother is celebrated twice!
I digress here, but I have been reflecting on the financial lessons I learned from my parents. I have to say I learned more from their mistakes than from their successes.
Unfortunately, my parents were not good with managing money. To this day, they are still not. They are lucky to be in France, where obtaining credit is more difficult than here, and where government better provides.
Here is what I learned from my parents:
- Budgeting, planning & saving: my parents never had a budget. Planning and saving were not part of their vocabulary either. They were always scrambling when the unexpected happened. They weren’t able to plan and save for the expected either, such as my going to university.
- Not living pay-cheque to pay-cheque: it goes hand in hand with the above point. All the money went to pay for the bills and not much more beyond that, simply because there wasn’t any left. This is the only thing that my parents did very well. They always paid their bills in full and on time. I am the same.
- Have a bare-bones budget: my dad had a habit of quitting jobs on a whim, with nothing else lined-up. My parents lived the same way as if they still had 2 incomes. It put a huge strain on both their finances and relationship.
- Financial talk and screening: I don’t think my parents ever sat down to talk about money before getting married. If they had, I may not be here today! Their financial styles are opposite. I don’t think it is a deal-breaker per se, but it requires work and compromises on both sides.
In a nutshell, I learned what not to do financially from my parents. I also made my own mistakes, but overall I am in better situation than my parents have ever been.