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Mommy, Where Does Money Come From?

Updated on April 7, 2014

For many of us, the majority of our education comes from school. We learn math, science, history, art and music from the time we start school to graduation. Fast forward after graduation and we are now “in the real world”. We have jobs, family, hobbies, and bills to pay. Suddenly trigonometry is not as useful as it was in high school, or knowing the different parts of an atom do not transfer well to your current career. But there is something that we did not learn, or learned very little of that we use or think about on a daily basis. Personal finance.

Every day you are either paying bills, watching what you spend, budgeting your paycheck, putting money into different savings vehicles, calculating sales, discounts, taxes, coupons, interest rates and many other practical personal finance applications. But did you ever learn how to create a budget in high school? Did your economics class tell you about the 1099 you receive if you make $10 of interest in a savings account? I am sure your history teacher failed to mention to keep your important documents for 7 years.

So if we do not learn these important lessons in school, how do we get by? We learn them in other areas of our life. Such as family, friends, from reading, TV, our culture and society, and most important, the school of hard knocks, yup, real life. The best lessons learned are the ones learned the hard way, meaning through trail, error and failure.

To really begin to understand how you personally view, save, spend and earn money, look at your parents. For the majority of you, that is where most of your financial education came from. I am not saying you make the same decisions, but you learned what not to do and what to do from watching your parents make wise decisions or bad mistakes. Once you realize where your money education came from, you can then have a clear picture of your own tendencies.

Are you a spender or a saver?

Are you frugal or frivolous?

Are you practical or enjoy luxury?

Do you live in the moment or think long term?

Not all of these questions may seem like they deal with how you handle money, but the answers to them can have a significant impact on your financial wellbeing. If you are the type of person that will take a vacation on a whim, you probably are not thinking about the lifestyle you want to have in retirement. If you are a practical person, you may buy the Toyota over the Lexus saving money simply because you see all the bells and whistles as excessive.

I am not saying that one way or the other is right or wrong, but there is value in knowing your preferences and goals.

What you do with your money is our choice. Besides, you earned it you can do with it what you want. My point is, there is a lack of formal education in the subject, and in order to understand why you make the choices monetarily that you do, you will have to look deeper than the classes you took in high school. Look at your parents, your social crowd, and your core beliefs. If they do not align with how your finances are handled, you may want to begin making adjustments until your lifestyle matches up in your finances.

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