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3: What You've Learned

Break the Cycle of Family LifeValues

question marksExperiences from your childhood influence your decisions today. Whether spending money, managing money, or making investment decisions, you can re-enact your original family culture without being aware of it. In fact, you might copy a parent’s behaviors even when you do not like those behaviors.

Your Unique Financial History

With only a few minutes of thinking, you can uncover information about your childhood that will help you understand your relationship to money today.

Step One:

Think carefully about what went on in your childhood and how you interacted with your parents or guardians and siblings when it came to:

  • Your allowance
  • Discussions (or fights) about money
  • Silence when you asked questions
  • The purchases you made
  • The things you wanted (and whether you got them)
  • The purchases and decisions about money that were made for you
  • Write a few notes that you find important or surprising about these childhood experiences, or any other money memories from growing up that stand out in your mind.

Step Two:

Write a brief description of your most positive childhood memories about money or the things you knew money could buy. What did you enjoy? What were the special features? What made it special?

Step Three:

Write a brief description of your most negative childhood memories about money or the things you knew money could buy. What did you most dislike? What experiences related to money and finances made you unhappy when you were a child?

Step Four:

Now, compare your childhood experiences with your positive and negative financial habits as an adult. Do you recognize any childhood patterns brought into adulthood? If so, do they fit with your adult values and lifestyle, or do they make you feel uncomfortable? It is time to claim your own values and start aligning your actions with who you really are today.

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