This week marks the 2nd annual Women’s Money Week! I participated last year, but this year I’m just going to do the one.
The topic of the day is family and money, and oh boy do I have my opinions on the subject. Namely that I think family and money should not mix. I grew up in a household in which if you wanted something, you had to earn the money to buy it yourself. I never got an allowance, but instead had to find other ways to make cash as a kid, like having a lemonade stand, babysitting, and saving up my birthday money. This carried on until I could work part-time as a teenager, and I still keep that same mentality to this day.
Of course, when I used to complain non-stop to my parents about the unfairness that some of my friends got money when they asked their parents for it and I got squat. Looking back I can see how this actually shaped my work ethic for the better and made me appreciate the value of a dollar at a very young age.
What it also did was prevent any tension between my parents and I because what I bought, I bought with my money. Even if I blew all of it on gummy worms and pogs, they couldn’t get mad at me because it was my money and I was free to do as I liked with it.
Because I also paid my way through university, I had this same freedom to choose whatever degree I wanted. I can’t tell you how many friends I had who were pushed into certain disciplines by their parents and had to comply because their parents were footing the bill.
Not only would it suck studying something you aren’t passionate about, but just think about all those years of built up bitterness and resentment that this would most likely cause. I’m sorry, but when family uses money as means of control, no good can come from that in my opinion.
With all that being said, I do know that family giving family money isn’t always a bad thing. For instance, my family doesn’t believe in lending money to each other, however we do believe that giving money to each other without want for reimbursement is just fine.
My parents may not have paid my tuition, but they did pay for my first real vacation with a friend to Mexico after my third year of university. They are also giving my BF and I some money to help pay for our upcoming wedding, for which we are incredibly grateful.
Basically, we only exchange money to family in the form of a gift, with no strings attached, and it’s worked pretty well for us so far. Otherwise, just like church and state, we keep family and money separate.