College Connect: Learning from our parents financial mistakes

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My first post was about how I felt the need to help and give back to my parents. I spoke about how I used money left over from my student loans to help my parents with bills and other expenses. While I still support helping my parents, I would like to expand on my previous post by addressing the limitations and what I have learned.

First, you must learn when enough is enough. Sometimes the problem isn’t the finances, but how the finances are being spent. In other words, I realized that my parents are bad with money. I suppose this puts me at a disadvantage because I have had to learn about financial management on my own. Sure my parents shared the traditional wisdom of “earn a dollar, save a dollar”,  but they never taught me how to budget.

This is a lesson that I am still teaching myself. I admit I’ve had a more privileged life than others. That being said money is something that I’ve never fully understood how to manage and I’ve had to learn everything through trial and error.

This relates to the situation that arose earlier with my parents because I am learning through their errors of what not to do with money. Throughout my life I have noticed the financial “mistakes” of my parents. I use the quotation marks because I know that a lot of them were done with the best intentions.

My parents were never flashy or wasteful with money and I know that a lot of the sacrifices and things that I call mistakes were done so that I may have the things that I have today or so that we could have had food on the table. I only call them mistakes because they are things that I would have done differently. However one can really know what they would have done if they were never in a position to do anything similar. But I feel that by knowing what I know about how my parents spent money and what they did and didn’t invest in that I can now have a better understanding to land myself in a better financial situation than my parents are in.

Robert Abel is a senior at University of Missouri.

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