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This is officially the cutest photo on the Internet

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Look at this photo from Friday’s New York Times:

My parents are in the New York Times in an article called “How to Raise a Financial Wizard,” and I could not be prouder.

Funny backstory: it was originally titled “How to Raise a Financial Guru” as you can see from the NYT URL, but apparently it could seem politically incorrect to have “guru” next to my dad’s turban. So the title was changed. HAHA

As you know, my parents had a huge influence in my life. Much of what I teach on IWT, I learned from them. No, they didn’t teach me about automation or peer-reviewed psychology studies, but they modeled much of what came to later become IWT. For example…

  • When my dad took a week (yes, a week) to negotiate for a car, then demanded free car mats at the last minute, I learned about asking for what you want
  • When my mom and dad would tell me to “Just write it up…what’s the worst that can happen?” I learned about taking risks for uncertain reward
  • When I watched my parents raise 4 kids on one income, I learned what Conscious Spending really meant

I also learned a lot about behavior, marriage, and gender roles from them. How many of us have invisible scripts about money that are directly traceable to our parents?

Maybe we believe that a man should be the primary breadwinner. Or that a husband and wife should both earn equally. Or something totally different.

Let’s share our best stories.

First, read the article about my parents in the New York Times. I’m so proud of them, and I want you to see what kind of influence two people can have.

Next, tell me what you learned from your parents about money and gender roles. (Feel free to comment anonymously, if you want.) Share your best realization — did you agree/disagree when you were a kid? What changed when you grew up? Will you behave the same way your parents did?

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110 Comments

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  1. I learned that the “wrong people” had all the money…… who wants to be the “wrong people” not me……
    no wonder I don’t have any!

  2. Barbara Saunders Link to this comment

    I love the photo of your parents! I agree. Cutest of the day. I learned from my GRANDPARENTS that men and women should earn equally. It’s only now in middle age that I’ve accepted that women who want to stay home and not work aren’t retro and rare. I had placed that image in the pile with cavemen towing wives by the hair.

  3. I learned to never be financially dependent on a man, and to always have my own bank account, however small, that remained hidden from him in case I ever had to leave or faced some other emergency.

  4. I learned that one income wasn’t neccessarily enough to live comfortably and that it was unfair to expect one person, in this case my father, to be the primary bread winner and take on the financial responsibility and stress of having 4+ dependents. Looking back, I could see how my mother was only part of the problem by outright refusing to contribute in a responsible fashion. I’m sorry but 4 hours of bingo every night isn’t a JOB! I guess you can say that I learned about what counted as a legitimate risk from her.

  5. I had to learn on my own in how to save my money

  6. I learned from my father how terrible it is to work in a career you may not particularly like, say “Well, it’s too late now” in your fifties, and die before hitting retirement.

    I learned from my mother, who stayed home to raise four kids, that you can make a lot of money doing things that are fun on the side and easily hide the money from the government and not pay taxes on it.

  7. I was the eldest son of a man who let us know there was an authority which we had to respect (at the risk of a spanking). As I got older, my father mellowed enough so that I saw not a stern authority figure but someone whose advice was usually right on the money. The best thing he taught me was that you can’t get bad experiences or bad people change you. There’s a proper way to treat people, with respect; when you don’t get it in return, cut your losses but don’t change who you are. Add to that a mother who gave us unconditional love (but not one that was blind to our misdeeds) and I had a wonderful childhood with parents who are role models to me to this day.

  8. Hi,

    Sorry for my english. I’m French and very content to leave a message. Very cut photo indeed.
    What i have learned from my parents (and my grandparents) and what have inspired my construction :
    -Try to be autonomous
    -Money have to be shared
    -no difference if you are a girl or a boy, equality of treatment

    Congratulations to your parents.
    Angélique

  9. My dad was a loan officer for a bank. This was back in the days before national megabanks — banks were still local institutions, so the person deciding if you would get that loan or not was someone in your community, not somebody 1000 miles away looking at a computer. He frequently had to deny loans to doctors, lawyers and other well paid professionals living beyond their means because they were just too deeply in debt from buying fancy houses & cars. I remember him saying that even someone earning $100,000 a year (back when that was considered a sky-high salary, haha) could be broke due to poor spending habits. As a result, I have always tried to live a bit below my means so I could put away money. The only debt I have is my mortgage, and if I needed to replace my car tomorrow (though I hope I don’t have to — it’s 10 years old, but it still runs great!) I could pay cash for a new one instead of having to finance it.

  10. Congrats Ramit 🙂

    When I was a kid I listened to adults and their advice. As I grew older and was exposed to a world different than theirs, I learned that parents mean well, but what worked for my parents in their lifetimes doesn’t necessarily work for us in our lifetimes.

    Our parents grew up in a world where you go to college, get a job, have kids and retire. OURworld is full of constant change, and in order to survive you must constantly change, adapt and grow yourself.

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