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What is the earliest memory you have when it comes to learning about money? A lot of us don’t get a lot of exposure to education around money and personal finance until we are already adults and our money habits and associations have already been formed.
Childhood money lessons
I have a few core money memories from my youth:
- I have a picture of me and my brother running a lemonade stand on my front lawn around 1st grade. Which I very vaguely remember
- I remember going to the variety store with a few quarters in my pocket and contemplating which combination of penny candies I could buy with the money I had.
- I remember getting my first bank account at Bank of Montreal when I was 12 or 13.
- My dad bought some mutual funds for my brother and I and showed us the paper slips from the investments.
- I also learned how to write a cheque in some class in high school.
But that was the extent of financial literacy training when I was younger. Those are my earliest memories when it comes to finances. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t a lot.
Most people don’t learn too much about money when they are young. But there are lots of opportunities for parents to teach kids money concepts which are appropriate for various ages.
One great resource is a book by Canadian Robin Taub on raising money smart kids called “The Wisest Investment: Teaching Your Kids to be Responsible, Independent, and Money Smart For Life.”
The Bank of Canada Museum has free downloadable worksheets for various age groups that can help parents teach kids about money.
The next phase in most young people’s money learning journey is when they attend university or college.
This is also around the time most people will get their first credit cards, and likely without any thought or education on how to use credit responsibly.
For me, moving away from home to another city for university and taking on student loans really was a big learning experience.
I worked two jobs all through university to help cover my expenses on top of my student loans.
Ok…so maybe I went to Cuba on reading week with my student loan money once… but other than that I was pretty diligent.
In my 3rd year of university I studied abroad, and really had to rely on a friend to help me with the loan processing from back home, while I tried to get whatever part time work I could in a country where I barely spoke the language. It was really an eye opener.
After graduation I worked hard to pay off my loans as soon as I could. I just didn’t like the feeling of being in debt. Looking back now, of course I wish I had started investing earlier instead of being so gazelle focused on paying of my student loans as early as possible.
I also would have advocated more for myself in terms of sharing expenses better in my post graduation relationship, as I supported my partner by paying most of the housing costs while he went to school. Even though I was paying off my loans at the same time, and he was paying for school in cash and had substantial savings. But C’est la vie.
I’ve learned a lot since then, thanks for joining me on this ride!
What life experiences shaped your view on your finances? Share your earliest memory of learning about money below!
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1 thought on “Learning about Money”
Wow, 12/13 is definitely a young age to have a bank account, I have only actually managed to get myself one recently, but already I don’t know how I can now survive without one. I suppose I started to think about money management when I was about 14, when I begun paid work.