Written by Bill Zavestoski
When it comes to managing money, we learn a lot from our parents—both good and bad. We want to pass that wisdom on to our children. Will they listen? Did we? Everyone adapts to their particular situation. As part of our Chase-sponsored Smart Spending series, we conducted video interviews and asked people the best money lessons they’ve learned from their parents and the best financial advice they’ve shared with their children. Here are their words of wisdom:
Carlos Lozada gets his advice from an early Motown hit: "My mama told me, you better shop around." In that case, the singer was looking for a spouse, but what Carlos tells his son Xavier also rings true: "Try to conserve as much as possible, shop around, search for the best deals," he says.
“[I] keep some kind of journal or a written track of my expenses," said Scott Lavin. “That really impacted me. It sort of forces you to think about where you're spending and how you're spending."
Arlene Lassin will be the first to admit that she hasn't taken the best financial path: "My advice to my children is save, don't spend, because I've set a terrible example for you. Don't do want your momma did.”
Carol Wilson has her children divide up their allowances, putting a third toward savings, setting a third aside for something they want to purchase down the road, and allowing them to use the final third immediately. "I have two kids, 9 and 13," she says. "[My kids] don't need to buy everything that they see. They need to think about it, and if they still want it after a couple of days, then maybe. They need to buy things on sale."
"My wife and I talk about it but we never seem to actually execute our plan of teaching them responsibility,” said Bob Koscso. “Basically they come and they ask us for money and we give it to them. Lately they've been doing better, with chores around the house, earning it. I'd prefer giving them like a debit card each month, and that would be how much they'd actually have to spend for the month."
Jerry Levin says the lesson he taught his children has worked, noting that his grandkids are saving their allowances. "I taught my kids about money by being frugal, not being extravagant," he says. "When the $100 sneaker came out, I would give them 40 bucks and let them work for the other $60. They seemed to have learned a lesson about that ... and their own children are doing the same thing."
Liz Defazio deflects the thought of financial woes with a humorous approach. "My parents always said save for a rainy day," she says. "[What]I do is I try and hide money from myself in two different bank accounts, hide my credit cards from myself, and marry a very thrifty, cheap husband!"
Emmanuel Zaze feels you can never go wrong by living the American dream of owning a home. "This is for my beautiful little girl, Olivia," he tells the camera. "If I had to give you one piece of sound financial advice, I would say buy a house. This way you're not paying somebody else rent. You're building up equity and you have your own privacy. You can do whatever you want, paint something or change something. It's all yours. It's yours for life, or (you can) sell it and make some money."
By not leaving the nest too early, Anthony Davoli has it made, at least for now. "The best spending advice I've ever been given? Live with your parents as long as you can.”
TELL US: What’s the best money lesson you’ve learned? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.