Being a personal finance blogger, I’m often embarrassed of the financial background I come from. I’ve been reading a lot of MEG’s blog Wealth is Good lately, and she seems to have the same problem, if it is a problem.
MEG recently “came out of the finance closet” and wrote how she’s getting a financial gift each year from her grandparents, as part of their estate planning process. It’s causing quite a stir in the PF blogosphere. In a recent post, she is trying to figure out how much her net worth would be without any help from her family. It’s one of those things that’s pretty impossible to figure out. But for both of us, our net work would be much less (likely negative) at this point in our lives if our parents hadn’t helped along the way.
Looking back on my life, I really have no idea where my net worth would be without my parents. Maybe I’d be poor and depressed. Maybe I’d be in law school after working my ass off in undergrad. I probably wouldn’t be living on my own and making $60k at a job I love.
My parents paid for so much of my life. My spending on things I didn’t need (clothes, other junk) was high, but I never really bought anything material I really wanted with their money. Just a lot of crap. I went to public school, so that was free, but my parents paid a lot for outside classes and camp. In high school, every summer I went to a different college for courses. All of that helped me get into college, which ultimately helped me get the job I have now.
While not from the bank accounts of my mom and dad, my $15k that I started with out of college was directly a result of their work. That is, when I broke my arm in 6th grade and they sued the gym, the lawyer and my parents won me $15,000. I wasn’t able to touch it until I was 18, and when I was able to touch it I was afraid to invest it. I just put it in a CD and let it sit. (Probably a good idea given the current state of the stock market.)
If I didn’t come from money, I may have worked harder in school, gotten myself a scholarship to a better school than the one I went to, majored in something that would have gotten myselef a stable job right when I graduated, lived frugally, stayed at home to pay off debt, etc. Or, as MEG puts it, I could have been so overwhelmed by everything and just dug myself further into a hole with credit card debt. It’s hard to say.
The one thing we can’t control is where we come from. It’s easy to spend any amount of money if you aren’t careful. I didn’t start thinking about saving money until I found An English Major’s Money blog two years ago. I always thought saving was something I could figure out later. Then, the personal finance blog community let me know that’s the worst idea ever. So I started saving.
And the rest is her(everycentcounts)story.