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Childhood Filled with Conflicting Messages: Why the F*** Did I Listen to My Parents Financial Advice

How the hell do I keep getting all these conflicting messages about what is happening in my life, how I should be acting, and why I am crazy for doing the things that I am doing. This has seemed to be the constant message I receive from work colleagues, friends and my family for the past 3 months since I have entered my obsession with the Financial Independence community. I want to be a financial badass! The main point of this blog post is to give anybody who might be reading this a good understanding of the mindset I had ingrained into me from a young age.

About My Childhood and Parents: I was very fortunate growing up the way I did. I was born in Dallas, TX and had a very stable home life with my two amazing parents and my brother who was two years older. Both my brother and I were extremely competitive in the spots we played growing up and most of my childhood I remember my parents taking my brother and I across the state to play in tournaments for various sports. My mom is your classic Jewish mother who is very loving, always looks out for her boys, and very “Jewish” when it comes to spending money. My father on the other hand was raised Christian but doesn’t really care about religion all too much. They both agreed to raise my brother and I Jewish with the one stipulation from my dad being that we would always celebrate the Christian holidays. My parents both had steady jobs making a median income throughout my childhood. Since I graduated college, both of my parent’s careers seem to have taken off, although they don’t really like to talk about it. My mom is currently working as a Senior DBA for Oracle and my dad is a Regional Sales Rep for Matco tools. I think they both make over $150k/year now which may be why they have seen some sever life creep.

My Parents Money Mindset: This is interesting to think about now that I have started down the path of Financial Independence at an early age. My parents NEVER discussed money in the household. EVER. Looking back, it seems strange that this topic was never brought up. I don’t know if that was my parents plan or if they just never thought to discuss money. I don’t know if they felt insecure about the living they made and didn’t want to share with my brother and I or if there were any financial struggles they had that they wanted to ensure they kept from my brother and me. I know my brother and I had to have been very expensive kids as we trained at a tennis academy twice a week, we traveled to tennis tournaments once a month where we had to stay in hotels and drive 4-5 hours to get there, and my brother liked to frequent the Emergency Room with broken bones and concussions. Maybe my parents were extremely tight with their budget and lived paycheck to paycheck. It is weird trying to bring up money with them now, but they still don’t seem to want to discuss when I try to begin the conversation. The one thing I do know to be a fact is that my mom stresses every day on whether they have enough saved up in their nest egg for retirement. Every day she and my dad are contemplating retirement, but it seems as if they haven’t pulled the trigger (at 61 and 62 years old) because they don’t know if they have enough money saved. One thing I do know for a fact, this is not what I want to be worried about when I am that age. There are so many other things I want to have completed in my life and the last thing I want to be worried about in 40 years is whether I will have enough money to be retired. Things I don’t agree with at all that I see from my parents in the life they live now:

1. My parents pay $300/month in tv/Netflix subscriptions that only my mom uses really because my dad is always traveling. THE FUCK YOU DO THAT FOR? CUT THAT CORD AND INVEST THAT MONEY INTO ASSETS!

2. Both my parents work jobs that seem to make them extremely stressed because of their fear of not having enough of a nest egg for retirement. FUCK THAT!!! WHY DO SOMETHING YOU DON’T LOVE? WHY ADD THE ADDITIONAL STRESS IN YOUR LIFE AT THAT AGE?

3. My parents don’t seem to acquire any assets and are of the Poor Dad mindset of their home being an asset. They currently don’t have any assets that are producing cashflow for them each month. RICH DAD, POOR DAD…YOUR HOME ISN’T AN ASSET!

4. My parents have seen what I have done with house hacking and renting out the two additional bedrooms in my home to live for free and they still think I am absolutely nuts for doing so. They literally have my aunt and uncle living with them in their basement and my parents aren’t charging them a dime. WHY ARE YOU WASTING ALL THIS INCOME POTENTIAL!?!? I HAVE PEOPLE WHO LIVE WITH ME AT MY HOUSE AND PEOPLE THINK I AM CRAZY, BUT FUCK IT, JOKE IS ON THEM, I AM THE ONE WHO IS LIVING FOR FREE!

5. My parents live lavishly and love to spend money on going out to eat often, drinking alcohol for dinner each night, and they continue to spoil family and friends because of being good hearted people. COOK AT HOME MORE OFTEN AND CHANGE YOUR DIET TO BE HEALTHIER! DON’T CONSUME AS MUCH ALCOHOL.

6. My parents have always told me to just put into my 401(k) what my employer would match because it was free money but there is no reason to put any more than that. Why the hell would I not want to max that sucka out every single year!! Even more free money they are missing out on. WHY HAVE I LISTENED TO THIS FOR 4 YEARS NOW AND MISSED OUT ON AN ADDITIONAL $56K IN MY 401(K) PLAN. IF ONLY I KNEW!!!

7. My parents don’t sign up for a HSA account to get the tax advantages the account has to offer! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING! THIS IS FREE MONEY AND SO SIMPLE TO DO!

8. My dad has this fantasy of camping up in the mountains and without even trying it with my mom and the dogs, he decided to buy a supped up $40k truck as well as a brand spanking new camper. Why the hell would you buy a $40k truck and then proceed to buy what was probably a $10-15k camper. SAY ADIOS TO $60-70K.

I know most people reading this (hopefully at least one person has read to this point 😊) might think that I hate my parents and think they are dumb with finances…well that is partially true. I do think they have made a ton of mistakes financially. It is clear they are not dumb people, they have just not been fortunate enough to know there are hundreds of thousands of posts that describe how to be a financial badass! Why not take all that information in and become a freaking Rockstar who crushes it and can feel comfortable later in life from a financial perspective? The last thing I want to do when I get to be my parents age is working a job I don’t truly love and worrying about if what I have saved up in retirement will last for my lifetime.

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