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Guest Post

Effect Of Your Past Money Memories On Current Finance Behavior

The following is a guest blog post by Stacy B Miller:


Seldom do we realize that our past money memories cast a long-term impact on our financial behavior. Those childhood memories shape our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and attitude about money.


Don’t agree with me? Okay. Let me share my story with you. Hopefully, after you finish reading my story, you’ll understand what I’m trying to convey.


When I was growing up, my dad used to scold my mom whenever she used to buy something expensive for me. Those memories are still there in my mind. I can visualize my dad saying – “Why did you buy such an expensive dress for Stacy? She has so many dresses.” My mom replied that she loved that dress and bought it for me. But dad couldn’t be pacified. He got angry and forced mom to return the dress.


I saw everything. This is the earliest memory I have about money. I wouldn’t deny that this incident has influenced my financial behavior remarkably.


The ‘dress’ episode was only one incident. There were plenty more. One day, three of us went somewhere. I don’t exactly remember the place. When we were returning, my mom asked dad to buy some chocolates for me. He shook his head and said – “No need. There are plenty of candies at home. She can have that.” Mom said only one thing – “You don’t buy anything for her. Do you even love her? It’s always about money and savings.” Dad’s reply still echoes in my ear.


“I’m the single bread earner in the family. I love my daughter. But I don’t want to spoil her. My income is not huge. I’m not a millionaire. I’m an average middle-class man who has to save every bit of money to make sure she gets good education. I can’t afford to run into debts or bankruptcy. I have too many things at stake”.


I didn’t understand his words completely that time. But I realized a few things. If I asked dad to buy anything for me, he would be angry and fight with mom. I didn’t want that thing to happen. From that day, I never asked my dad to give me anything.


Many years have passed. I have completed my higher studies. I’m working right now. But my attitude towards money has not changed. I don’t ask anyone to give me anything. I don’t ask dad to gift me anything. Life has changed. Dad sometimes tells me that he wants to buy something for me. I refuse. If I like something, I buy with my money. But you know what. I rarely feel like buying something expensive for me. I feel that’s a waste of money. May be, my childhood memories are responsible for this financial behavior. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. But this is how I am.


In my childhood, when we used to go for Christmas shopping, dad used to always look at the ‘sale offers’. He used to buy me a dress that was on sale. Mom always had an eye on expensive things and she used to always pick a costly dress for me. Dad used to say, “It’s too expensive. Can’t afford it.” Today, I can afford an expensive dress. But when I go for shopping, I end up buying dresses that are not costly. I would always explore dress that are on sale offers. I would look at the designer dresses and admire them. But still, I don’t have the courage to buy them.


My dad has a saving mentality. He saves money wherever possible. He lives a frugal life even after retirement. I have seen as a child how he used to save money. Those memories still affect me. Most times, dad used to commute by bus. Naturally, I also traveled by bus. Today, I can afford to travel by car. But, I don’t. Most times, I travel by bus. It has become a habit.


Final thoughts

Self-deprivation made me feel less valuable. It killed all the desires to pamper myself. My memories about money have taught me 3 things. First, if you want something, buy that for yourself. Second, save money so that you can lead a comfortable life after retirement. Third, be independent so that you’re not financially depended on anyone for your needs and wants.


Am I abnormal? Am I crazy? I don’t know. What do you feel? What are your earliest money memories? How have they affected you?



  1. I think you sound very normal, although with people being what we are, normal is kind of hard to define! I’m FIRE now, and mostly due to my parents examples. I remember them putting money in envelopes until they had enough to buy the next car. They never ran a balance on a credit card even once and never borrowed a dime to buy a consumer item. They paid the house off early and on modest incomes generated wealth. They gave 10% of their pretax income through the church and encouraged my brother and I to do the same. With parents like that it was very easy for me to generate wealth and retire to a life of paid and volunteer side gigs that I enjoy.

    1. Sounds like a great life. Especially if you are financially set, it is important to give back to the community. Glad you are enjoying everything now and had great parents to pave the way. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I can definitely see how the impact of your parents spending would have a lasting effect on you. I think we pick up what our parents teach us whether that’s verbal or non-verbal. The good news is your recognize it and are in a position to determine if that’s the way you’d like to proceed in life 🙂
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…The Benefits of the SP500My Profile

    1. I agree, kids are always watching. Either picking up on verbal or non-verbal queues from parents. That probably explains why most people grow up and take on traits of their parents. Just hope they are picking up on the positives.

  3. Definitely what we see to our parents will follow us…
    The reason you remember those things about the money is because your mom didn’t agree with your father.
    It is so hard when not both spouses are looking to the money in the same way.
    I will say that in life you have to have a balance and to pay yourself first.

    1. Money and finances are an important part of a getting married. If two people don’t agree on these types of things, it will put strain on the relationship over time. But if they are on the same page, it makes things easier since your goals will be similar as well. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Our parents are the biggest factor in how we think and act based on things that we saw or adapted to growing up. It is common for those who have parents that were embedded in sports, are embedded into sports at a young age also.

    It sounds like you don’t mind the frugality traits and saving mindset from your father, have accepted it as a good trait. On the FIRE journey, it definitely will help :D.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. Well guest post, so not actually my story. But the ideologies are the same. We all take on traits from our parents. Especially when we are at that impressionable age. But I believe I have picked up similar traits and will definitely help moving forward to FIRE. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Well, I definitely agree that your childhood can affect your attitude towards money. One of my first experiences growing up was being scolded for begging strangers for money. Sufficed to say that today, I have a hard time asking for money and I attribute that to my upbringing. A small example to the larger point, which is I agree with the main points of the guest post.
    Dividend Portfolio recently posted…Focus or Expand?My Profile

    1. I hear you loud and clear. Living by Detroit, I see people begging for money all the time. I have even seen people begging that don’t need it and are just faking. Professional pan handlers they are called I think. Crazy, they can make like 40k a year just on the generosity of others. I don’t like asking for money either. If I want something, I work hard and buy it myself. Have to keep your morals. As always, I appreciate your comments.

  6. My parents went from super rich to super poor. I grow up with stories on how lavishly they lived. But I didn’t like utilities people come to my house and we didn’t have the money to pay the bill.

    However, I also witnessed how my parents turn things around. They have great vision in investing in land, vision that can turn $50 to $100K on a piece of land over 20 years.

    For that, I’ve always fiscally responsible when I become an adult. In some way, I am just like them. And I try to avoid some of the mistakes that they made by having a lot of leverages and savings. But the cautious way of investing might have cost me some growth in my portfolio, but in hindsight, it’s 50/50.

    1. That is an interesting story. Seems like you are taking after them in a way, but also are being more smart about it. Sounds like you picked up on their real estate skills and used them to your advantage in all of your properties. Funny how things work out. Thanks for your comment!

  7. The biggest influence on my financial habit have been my parents ==> they thought me how to save and live frugal.

    The second major factor is my days as a day trader ==> my friends thought me how to make quick money and possibly lose a fortune.

    I guess both experiences have made me a better person.
    dividendgeek recently posted…2017 Q2 / June Dividend updateMy Profile

    1. I haven’t even though about day trading. That is for sure an easy way to lose a fortune. Especially with trade fees involved that eat away at any gains, it is hard to pull ahead. The risks just outweigh the rewards. DGI is the way to go now. At least your parents taught you some good lessons early in life to propel you forward as you got older. Thanks for commenting.

  8. Thx for sharing the story. We indeed copy r-the behaviour seen at home. It is good that we grow up, explore new ideas and adjust to,what is perfect for us. And things change, what is good now, might be lees good later.

    My spending pattern has changed a bit over time. I am now willing to spend a little more than a few years back, when I first discovered FIRE.

    1. I agree, things change over time. Usually for the better as we get older and wiser. Just need to find out what works best for you in your life. As long as we are all marking progress toward our goals. Thanks for your comment.

    1. That is a good saying. Guess you don’t even realize it until you get older that you learn just from watching your parents. Either mimic them as you get older or strive to be different. Glad you learned early and can use that to your advantage in your life now. Thanks for your comment.

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