Money Lessons from Mom
This Sunday, millions of people around the world will celebrate Mother's Day, when they pay homage to their maternal parents. The memories of a great mother can last beyond her lifetime; and if you are lucky enough to still have your mom around, ensure that you treat her extra special on this day.
I have been blessed with the inspiring presence of my mother for over 40 years, and she has been very influential in my personal and professional development to this day. As a woman who achieved many accolades in her chosen field, I have always aspired to emulate her success.
In hindsight, I realise that my mother has always been an excellent financial role model, demonstrating many of the smart money practices that bring financial security. Unfortunately, as a young person, I ignored her examples and advice, which caused me to make many poor choices with money.
This week, in tribute to my mother, I would like to share some of the important lessons about money that she taught me. Today I can appreciate her financial wisdom, and I wish that I had paid more attention to her words and had followed her good judgement in the past.
Make saving a habit
When I was just a baby, Mom opened a savings account at a building society for me and religiously put aside a small amount every month. As a nurse, she didn't earn a large income, but she never let financial pressures prevent her from making the all-important contributions to savings.
As I grew older, she encouraged me to take over the savings accounts that she had established for me, but I really never shared her commitment to the accumulation of money. I thought that money was to be enjoyed; a viewpoint which ultimately left me penniless for a good part of my adult years.
Today, Mom's dedication to saving has allowed her to enjoy retirement to the fullest, as she can comfortably afford to pay for things and experiences that enhance her life. Even at this stage, she is still a regular saver, building small nest eggs for her grandchildren.
Be responsible with debt
Mom is a big advocate of the credit union movement, as she was intrinsically involved in the work of her nurses' credit union. She firmly believed in the concept that small savers could work together to help each other to access affordable loans for productive purposes.
Although I never saw her borrow to buy things she wanted --she preferred to save to get them or do without -- she advised many persons how to make use of the credit union to better themselves. She encouraged responsible borrowing, and dissuaded persons from taking out frivolous loans.
This was another of my mother's money lessons that I should have followed in the past. Once my debt appetite was whetted with my first credit union loan to buy a television set, I continued to borrow to buy things I couldn't afford. It took me many years to break free of my costly dependence on debt.
Be frugal with fun
Growing up in the 1970s, we didn't have many outlets for entertainment that 21st century children now enjoy. There were no computers or video games, and the lone television station signed on in the afternoon and signed off at night. Yet, I have fond and enjoyable childhood memories, thanks to Mom.
There was never a lot of disposable income, but Mom ensured that we had fun. Trips to the beach were boosted with home-made fried chicken (we had no fast-food outlets either!), and birthday parties were unforgettable, thanks to the impressive cakes that she learned to expertly decorate.
What Mom showed me is that you don't have to break the bank or borrow unnecessarily to have a good time. The preoccupation in today's society with spending outrageous amounts of money on entertainment can be tempered by using innovative ideas to create avenues for frugal fun.
Work hard to fulfil dreams
Mom has always been very practical; she is not given to fanciful ideas and wishful thinking. As a young person, I was always dreaming big and thinking how we could get rich. I still remember her cautionary response one day, "People like us have to work hard for what we want."
I dismissed her advice as timid words from a conservative mother who lacked entrepreneurial vision, as I tried to find the easy way to accomplish my goals. Why work hard when you can work smart? After making several unwise financial decisions in the past, I finally understood what Mom meant.
While my route to financial success may take on a lot more risk than hers did, there still is no substitute for old-fashioned hard work. Whatever your endeavour, you will need to put in many dedicated hours of focused effort to be successful in achieving your dreams.
Happy Mother's Day to my mom, Merel Hanson, and to all the other wonderful mothers who pass on their invaluable wisdom to their children!
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Read more on money and business matters at financiallysmartadvice.com and entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.