Friday, October 10, 2008

A Money Disorder??

Ah, how I love intelligent friends and their Deliciouses (thanks Jonathan). I found this article from Heather M - it's about "money disorders". What is that? Well, I'll let you read the full article if you're interested, because if I told you, it'd negate the whole reason for posting a link to it. Also... I get paranoid about copying someone else's work. Oh, and because I'm lazy.


Anyway, this article reminded me of my friend/financial planner's money group. It's just a small group of pals who talk to each other confidentially, of course, about money issues and how to deal with them practically and even mentally. The meeting I was able to attend had everyone share their own story about how they came to have their attitudes toward money. My own - well, without going into gruesome detail...

My mother was a spender, my father was stingy. Both had clever ways of saving money, though they both saved for very different reasons. My mom saved so she could spend it on lots and lots of things, some of them big purchases. My dad saved in case of emergencies, or for helping his children pay for their educations. I don't mean to make my mom seem like a bad parent - a lot of things she bought was for us kids, too. She also helped me set up my first mutual fund when I was 16. Anyway, when I was very young, my primary caretaker was my mother. Up until they separated and divorced when I was 11-12, and from then on my primary caretaker was my father. Because my upbringing was split up, I've noticed, as an adult, that I've taken traits from both parents (as most people do in this situation).

The more responsibilities I got, the less I bought "things". I had no desire to purchase trinkets, leisurely items such as books, CDs, DVDs, accessories, etc., a trait I'd picked up from my dad. I started saving as much as I could (something they both do), for rainy days or large purchases, such as a laptop or remodeling parts of my home, justifying it - and rightly so for the most part - as an "investment", a largely "mom" trait. I don't really suffer from "buyer's remorse" as much as I suffer from "OMG, what if my car breaks down or I break my leg and I can't pay for it because I bought this important, but not THAT important, item?" - a reactionary trait my father inadvertently cursed me with. When I go out with friends or with Jason, I spend money freely, because I want everyone to have a good time and not to worry about silly things like money - that's my mom talking. But then again, I also hate spending on myself, and when alone I eat gross combinations of victuals because I don't want to spend the money going to the grocery store - that's my dad. This is the dichotomy within myself.

I, too, suffer from - perhaps not as severe as a "disorder" - but I certainly suffer from money-related issues stemming from my upbringing. I can't blame my parents for my financial stresses, though. They've taught me the valuable lesson of saving money, investing it in long-term funds, spending only on essentials and investments but also splurging responsibly - and most of all, they taught me the value of money and the correlation that goes with hard work and perseverance. People are also influenced by their environment and the people around them.

I just want you to think about where you came from, and why you do the thing you do. Sometimes knowing where you come from can help you find the root of problems - and triumphs - you may be struggling with pertaining to your financial habits. :)

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