College Connect: Parents and Personal Finance

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By Robert Abel

My first post was about how I felt the need to help and give back to my parents. I spoke about how I used the 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 also like to expand on my previous post by  talking about the limitations and what I have learned since.

You have to learn when enough is enough and when the problem isn’t the finances but how the finances are being spent.  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 told me the traditional earn a dollar save a dollar, tithe 10% save 10% but they never really taught me how to budget and make more money than you need so that you may live below your means.

This is a lesson that I am still teaching myself and am still learning. I admit I have had a more privileged life than others because I grew up with both of my parents but I have always been middle class or lower. The real middle class of $50,000 or less household income per year not the” I’m middle class because I don’t feel rich” middle class that most Americans feel they are a part of because they don’t have everything they desire. 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 my own parents 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 out of 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 with my money. 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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