Our parents are basically a fountain of knowledge for all our debt and saving questions. But while they may be well-intentioned, they don’t always get *everything* right. And that can, unfortunately, wind up costing us in the long run.
“My mom said that since so much money goes to waste on interest in payment plans for large purchases (like a car), it’s better to just buy things outright.”
“Don’t take out college loans and avoid using a credit card in college. I didn’t realize that having those loans/debt, though, would help in the long run.”
“I was exceptionally fortunate to have half of my college tuition paid by scholarships and the other half by my parents. This left me able to pay for personal expenses in college with my money from summer jobs. After I graduated college and got married, we went to buy a car. Here I was with zero debt and a $50k/year job while she was a full-time grad student with $20k in undergraduate loans and, at one point, had over $5k in credit card debt (which she had paid off). And SHE had to be the primary on the car loan because she had the great credit score. Mine wasn’t bad; it was just not great because I’d never had debt before. I learned debt isn’t a bad thing. NOT PAYING off debt debt in time is.”
“My parents told me that I should never, EVER use a credit card, and that they were bad and would put you in unimaginable debt. They told me that I should just use a debit card, but now I know that credit cards aren’t evil, lol!”
“My father-in-law told my husband to only buy things if you can buy in full. That’s great theoretically, but cut to when we were trying to apply for a mortgage and he didn’t have any credit to his name… Financing things is okay; just don’t live outside of your means.”
“They said putting money into a standard savings account will earn you money. By money, they should have said pennies!”
“My dad was terrible with his money, so basically I’m doing the opposite of what he did and doing really well. I am frugal like my mom and mainly only shop sales racks.”
“My dad taught me that pay raises were dangerous if they put you into a new tax bracket. He was wrong.”
“My grandad instilled in us that we should only buy what we have money for and can afford. This is great but that means, living in the age we do with high living costs and no savings, I would never be able to have/replace anything.”
“For example, a new car. Although this means I’m debt-free (excluding mortgage and student debt), I also drive a crap car, have nothing ‘nice’ and never go on holiday. I am a teacher so [I] am earning a good salary and still cannot afford to have nice things!”
“My father-in-law taught my husband and his siblings to not invest in a 401(k) or use a traditional savings account. Instead, he had them put their money in a weird, long-term trust account.”
“If your parents expect you to ‘share’ what you earn when you are a legal adult, you are not required to.”
“Do not tell them how much you make; start your own private savings account and do your own taxes. At the end of the day, when things get rough, you are on your own.”
“Do not ever put your student loan ‘living expenses’ reimbursement into a joint account WITH ANYONE. That money is yours and it is also your responsibility.”
“My parents never really talked about money and kind of pretended we did not have that much.”
“Cut to years later, living on my own and studying in Amsterdam (I’m Dutch): I noticed that I was waaaaay more privileged than others. Our house turned out to be pretty big, my parents were able to pay for the university education of their six (!) children, and we all had more than one hobby. That must have cost a FORTUNE. I would rather have known so I could be more grateful, but mostly it would be better to feel more comfortable talking about money. We never really did and now I don’t really know how to manage it all that well…”
“My parents said you shouldn’t have different bank accounts because the fees will eat you up.”
“My wife’s parents told her that buying a timeshare was the smartest and most cost-effective way to do vacation planning. When we looked into it a little more and ran the numbers, I was stunned; they’re a borderline scam.”
“Saving money but not spending it wisely… My folks said to save every penny you get and not spend a dime. I had heaps of money saved up but because I wasn’t taught how to spend money responsibly, I blew through my savings very quickly!”
Lastly, “They said to spend money when you have it because you don’t know when someone is going to take it or ask to ‘borrow’ it.”
“It took me 20+ years to realize I could just say no and refuse to give money to those who asked (mostly family members). And it’s taken many more years to build up the courage to say no. I’m just now starting to work on feeling comfortable saying no to anyone who asks for money. And I’m almost 40!”
Do you have a money “tip” you thought was true but you’ve since learned isn’t? Share it below!
And if this sounds like music to your ears (and bank account), check out more of our personal finance posts.
Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.