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This is officially the cutest photo on the Internet

110 Comments- Get free updates of new posts here

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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?

And if you want to get some of my best material to live a rich life, join my list.

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Lynn Berry
Lynn Berry
4 years 3 months ago

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!

Barbara Saunders
Barbara Saunders
4 years 3 months ago

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.

Jordan
Jordan
4 years 3 months ago

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.

Amber
4 years 3 months ago

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.

Vira
Vira
4 years 3 months ago

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

Christie M.
Christie M.
4 years 3 months ago

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.

Louis
4 years 3 months ago
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… Read more »
Angélique
4 years 3 months ago

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

Sue T.
Sue T.
4 years 3 months ago
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… Read more »
Jay S
4 years 3 months ago

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.

Greg S.
4 years 3 months ago
Ramit, I got very emotional reading the NYT article featuring you parents. You are so blessed having such beautiful and loving parents! One can’t help seeing the love in that photo! Both of my parents passed away in the last six months and my brother and I have been going through their financial wreckage. Fortunately we were able to get them to place everything in a Trust about ten years ago, so it’s fairly easy to deal with everything. My parents didn’t have a clue about money, and that was passed on to me. There was always secrecy and shame… Read more »
David
4 years 3 months ago
I’m sure they are very proud as well. And I am quite certain that they were always supportive of your ideas and goals from the time you were a child onward. It must be great to be a parent and look back and see how cool it is to have raised a child who has made it to the top of his game. In fact, I would be willing to get that they get a bigger kick out of watching you succeed than you get from seeing their picture in the NYT. But on the other hand, you have to… Read more »
Kris
Kris
4 years 3 months ago
Ramit- My best to you and your parents. They must be so proud of you and your siblings. In my household, my father made himself scarce when my Mother tried to bargain – he was totally embarrassed. He said “there she goes again, trying to “jew” (that vendor)”. Yet every time they wanted something – he sent her in. With my mother staying home raising seven children and my Father a carpenter – he was the primary breadwinner until the construction industry hit a stand still. My mother paid the bills and did the shopping. She looked for sales, used… Read more »
Stacey
Stacey
4 years 3 months ago

You have a beautiful story and a tremendous family for pitching in and not being a victim to your circumstances.

A.K. Sandhu
4 years 3 months ago

AWESOME picture of your parents RSS; I hate to admit it but first thing i did was imagine you with a Turban. You would look great with it! Let me know when you wear one, I’ll come take that picture for free 😉

Lynn
Lynn
4 years 3 months ago

“If you don’t need it, it’s no bargain.” Spend wisely, that’s what I learned from my parents and have passed on to my kids.

Great article!

Chris
Chris
4 years 3 months ago
Hi Ramit, I remember being sixteen when IRA’s made a big splash, because they had just been opened to everyone. This was 1981. Somehow I had a piece of paper explaining the compound interest calculations on $2000/yr on out to 50 years or so. It was one of the clearest thoughts I remember having during this tumultuous time in my life, that this might be a good idea. I took the paper to my dad and he promptly talked me out of it, poo-pooing the idea and I walked away feeling like an idiot. Now I feel like an idiot,… Read more »
Lori A.
Lori A.
4 years 3 months ago

From my mother, I learned that Welfare is not charity. It’s a trap.

From my father: no ‘junk’ drawers. No folders marked ‘Miscellaneous.’ No categories named ‘Other.’

Meg
Meg
4 years 3 months ago
I don’t think my parents intended for me to learn this, but I learned its normal for men to work very, very long hours. When I grew up, my dad worked at home n the weekends and often wouldn’t get home until 9:00 p.m. at night. This has carried over into my own marriage. Most of my coworkers are surprised that I “let” my husband work two jobs, which means I only get about one waking hour with him on weekdays and a few on weekends. But it’s normal for us; we both grew up with fathers who worked long… Read more »
Jessica Mashael Bordelon
4 years 3 months ago
I learned the necessity for cooperation. If the 2 adults managing the home cooperate on financial matters and tending to the needs of the home, things are much smoother for everyone. I learned the importance of getting the work done and over with before you relax, because the only way to truly enjoy the relaxation is when the unfinished work is no longer in the back of your mind. (ex: washing clothes or dishes) For gender roles, I learned that my step dad was the one who protects us and makes us feel safe, and Mom was the one who… Read more »
Vivian
Vivian
4 years 3 months ago
Growing up, I had assumed that my dad handled all the money (assuming the stereotype, I guess — he was also the breadwinner). It wasn’t until I was out of college that I realized that my mom was actually the one organizing and managing all of the bills. I learned good filing habits from her (she had a system for tracking which bills were due when and making sure no payments were ever missed). But I did not learn any actual financial management from either of my parents, and my brother and I are realizing now that they may need… Read more »
My Own
My Own
4 years 3 months ago
The lessons I learned when I was a kid were all bad. My parents (especially my dad) had a tendency to spend it as soon as it was in there pockets with little self control. I’m just now learning how to get away from that. It’s hard, because I do the same thing now and figuring out that just because I have money doesn’t mean it should be spent is a hard lesson I’m working on. The best lesson I learned from my parents were from my mom as an adult. She and my dad got a divorce and she… Read more »
Foghorn O'Kalashnikov
Foghorn O'Kalashnikov
4 years 3 months ago
I learned from my folks give and take – ie there are times when one partner may be unemployed or being educated or on maternity leave or whatever and the other must pick up the slack. This is definitely something that we do in our marriage. Other things – that partners should work to their strengths in divvying up chores/tasks/responsibilities and that both partners should have the capacity to earn. All important stuff. On the bad side – I inherited from my father a real “worry wart” personality which makes me stress out about finances. Congrats to your folks on… Read more »
B
B
4 years 3 months ago
Unfortunately for my folks I learned what not to do. My mom came from a fairly poor family and married my dad who came from a family with some money. Although they had good jobs they were always looking to get rich the “easy” way. If it was a multi-level or get rich quick opportunity they would max out their credit cards to buy in. They would then spend their next several years to get out of the hole. They have been fortunate enough to have a couple of windfalls to keep them afloat and are currently retired. My current… Read more »
Stacey
Stacey
4 years 3 months ago
Ramit, I enjoyed the article and picture. Congrats to you and your parents! I was born in 1965 and had a traditional upbringing: stay-at-home mom until I was in 8th grade when she started working as a general office person at various insurance companies, mainly to help fund my 7-years’ older sister’s college; my dad was an electrical wholesale salesperson and was a realtor on a PT basis. We were solid middle class, with a suburban, split-level house and an above-ground pool, but we never really had extra money, which as a kid I only realized when my parents fought… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
4 years 3 months ago
From my mom I learned the importance of having someone at the home when my brother and I got home from school. She said “In 12 years of school, there were only a few days when something happened, and it was important that someone be home when you boys got home from school, but those days make a big difference.” My mom was right, and when we had moved states in my 8th grade year and I was stuck with a teacher who just passed out worksheets every day, I came home after a few weeks and tore apart my… Read more »
Stacey
Stacey
4 years 3 months ago

Kevin, pardon my saying so, but that was such a sweet story, that you appreciated your mom’s being there. My husband and I also had a similar understanding about our roles when the children came along. Throughout their lives I’ve worked part-time here and there, but I agree it’s important to have someone at home whose main focus is their well-being, even if by Thursday I’m ready for a break–our 3 sons are 11, 13 and 17 now and can still wear me out!! Sometimes they drive you crazier at these ages!

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 3 months ago
I find your story kind of depressing. First, I really don’t think a ~3 hour delay in a parent’s arriving home is the difference between a kid feeling emotionally supported and loved or not. What if your mom had instead arrived home, found a trashed room, talked to you about better ways to express your feelings (i.e., in ways that didn’t hurt others), and then arranged gifted classes for you? Or what if your dad had done that? There might be some women whose idea of fulfillment is being a mom. That’s certainly the role that society glorifies: female as… Read more »
jay
jay
4 years 3 months ago

my father and grandfather were caterers. As a kid all I wanted to be was the next generation to follow in their footsteps, but their company went out of business when I was in high school. we went from solidly middle class to struggling to stay above water.
the lesson I learned was ‘ALWAYS PLAN FOR A RAINY DAY.’ always have emergency savings b/c you never know when there will be an emergency.

LT
LT
4 years 3 months ago
I learned a lot of great financial-management from my mom. She had the more stable, usually higher-paying job, managed the money, and bugged my father (correctly) when he forgot to pay his bills (work-related, as she took care of the family ones) or was otherwise generally financially careless. She also made sure I learned what to do by talking through her thought process when I watched her pay bills, etc. Growing up in an environment contrary to (what I perceived as) the mainstream stereotypes of money and gender, I didn’t get sucked into buying into a ‘men are better with… Read more »
Sue Swift
4 years 3 months ago
I am actually learning more from my father now than I did when I was growing up, even though he’s been dead for ten years. I’m now living with and taking care of my elderly mom, and in control of the finances. I see how hard my dad must have worked, not only at his job, which pays her pension, but also to save so much in addition, which he tucked away in bond funds with two different companies. How many people have a multi-pronged retirement plan? Most of us figure, “well, my employer and the government will take care… Read more »
Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey

My parents taught me to be financially independent. And though I am married, I should continue to work and earn, not just for the family, but for myself as well.

Lynn
Lynn
4 years 3 months ago
I learned both my parents were hard workers. Dad was in the air force, then reserves while working carpentry jobs. The carpentry work wasn’t always steady (though when working, put in long hours), so mom worked at the hospital. She was the oldest of 3 girls and the only one to graduate college. Her life has been MUCH better than that of her sisters. Mom liked some aspects of her job, but not all and felt rather trapped as that was the only reliable way to carry health benefits as construction work didn’t provide that. Who earned more? I suspect… Read more »
Richard
Richard
4 years 3 months ago
Ramit: Thank you for sharing your ideas, It is interesting how I stumbled upon the same ideas for networking when I lost my position at a major FI after 23.5 years. I used many of the same concepts not knowing what they were called but naturally leveraged the many connections I had to target and identify the decision makers I would ultimately interview with toacquire the position I was ultimately offered. It is amazing how change can be a beautiful thing. Been wanting to write to you for a while and finally had the time to do so. As far… Read more »
Lean Ni Chuilleanain
4 years 3 months ago
Hey Ramit, Yes, that is THE CUTEST. Great article. What I got from the description of your family was the sense that *paying due attention to money* was seen as the proper thing to do. Money seemed integrated, somehow – a normal part of life. Yeah, I know that sounds so obvious as to be barely worth stating. But I didn’t grow up with that perspective. Instead, I am in the process of shedding the invisible script that money is, essentially, something that happens to other people. Not in a hugely gendered way, I don’t think – at least, not… Read more »
Ms Hanson
4 years 3 months ago

I grew up with 3 brothers & one working mother, and learned that I really could feed myself without depending upon another. This mindset has evoked mixed reactions, although I believe it has given me a confidence many women admire. So do a few men.

Katherine
Katherine
4 years 3 months ago
Growing up my Dad used to keep a wad of dollar bills in a cup in the cupboard. He did it because his father did it (which his friends growing up loved). The six of us children grabbed from it on the way out the door to school, when the ice cream truck rolled through the neighborhood, or just on our way out with friends. As we grew up and started to face the “real world” my older sister liked to point out that “money doesn’t grow from a cup in the cupboard”. I realized I had grown up with… Read more »
Juliana
Juliana
4 years 3 months ago
My parents are American, but they were young newlyweds with small children in Japan, where the tradition was that the husband brought home his salary, handed it over to his wife, and she used it to pay the bills, run the household, and give him his weekly allowance. If he ran out of money, he had to ask her for more. It’s changed there now, but my parents always kept the habit of discussing purchases before making them, where both were equal partners. My father would never have dared to say something like, “I make the money, so I make… Read more »
Phillip Van Nostrand
4 years 3 months ago

I’ve learned so much from both my parents it’s astounding. From my mother: “Never own a credit card. If you do, pay it off in full each month.” As a family the only times we ever ate out were birthdays and graduations. Otherwise dinner at 6pm at home, together, every day. I also watched my father completely switch careers from being a successful plumber to successful therapist while I was finishing high school. We went to the swap meet (flea market) monthly and I was (and still am) a thrift store kid at heart.

Holly
Holly
4 years 3 months ago

From my (single) mom I learned that even if you don’t have a lot of money, you should never completely deprive yourself of occasional spending on things that make you happy. I still follow that mantra today and I enjoy life. I control my money instead of vice versa. I still have to budget, but I make sure that I can shop, vacation, go to movies, etc… without guilt!

Cathy
Cathy
4 years 3 months ago
I never learned anything directly about money from my parents – I was never told how to spend or save. Money was never talked about – it was complained about, like a necessary evil. My mother always let us know how poor we were, although we probably were not poorer than my friend’s families. My father was the one who brought home a paycheck and he doled out money to my mother in little bits and then complained about her spending, though he could go out and spend money on whatever he wanted. My parents were hard working and loving,… Read more »
ell
ell
4 years 3 months ago
My parents each had professional jobs (nurse and engineer), and had separate checking accounts. Middle class.. It was always implied we would grow up, acquire professional work, and be self-sufficient. This seemed completely normal to me. That said, we weren’t given any training on how to get there. No tutoring, no help applying to colleges or learning how to fill out a college application or FAFSAs. Minor assistance included partial (~20-30%) college tuition; the rest was loans. We figured those things out on our own. The result is that we ended up being self-sufficient and learned how to get things… Read more »
Julie
Julie
4 years 3 months ago
I love your mother’s story of saving up for a big expense, then taking the whole family along for the purchase and going to the temple afterwards! What I learned from my parents about money: (my dad works as a financial advisor for a bank) – “Yes you got €2 pocket money from your Gran – how about putting it in your savings account? You know you have a savings account, right? If you put the €2 in it instead of buying sweets, when you’re 18 you will have a lot more money and you can buy something like a… Read more »
Jill
Jill
4 years 3 months ago
Your parents are ADORABLE. Must run in the family! From my parents I learned: – work is important, because you need to have your own money – childcare is really freaking expensive, but better than not working (not applicable yet, but I remember) – always know how much money you have (I have automatic bill paying for practically everything, plus online banking.) – always have a little money somewhere else in case of emergency – From my Dad: save. From my Mum: spend. – Divorce is also really freaking expensive, financially and emotionally: try to marry someone awesome and work… Read more »
Frank
Frank
4 years 3 months ago

I learned that both parents can earn income…and the big one: DEBT IS SLAVERY! Credit cards should be paid in full, every month!

Sonja
Sonja
4 years 3 months ago

I learned from my parents that I should live without debts, to make sacrifice for other members of the family, to help people since money comes and go, but people are important.
I also learned that you can live without money, but you cannot live without the people you love.
Although only my Father had a salary, we had everything we needed most of the time. But, when we needed something it was much easier for us to cope with it, since we new how to live without material goods. It was just important to us that we are together and healthy.

John
John
4 years 3 months ago
My father was a cop and my mother a flight attendant. They buried themselves in debt in order to raise my sister and I in the right neighborhood and send us to the right schools. Every month when my father sat down to revolve his debts he would make me sit at the kitchen table with him as he covered it in bills and credit card offers. As I sat there I would promise myself that I’d never wind up in that situation. My sister, however, never had to sit through the monthly bill torture because finances weren’t a girls… Read more »
Betsy
Betsy
4 years 3 months ago
I learned that how you grow up determines how you treat money. My mom grew up really poor, and then her father – the sole bread winner – died when she was 12. The whole family had to start working. She made it – got a scholarship to college and law school and then began a middle-upper class life. My dad grew up middle class – had enough to get buy, but things were tight. His parents both worked as teachers, but there were 4 kids so they had to make the money stretch. He never went without, but the… Read more »
Andreas Kopp
4 years 3 months ago

Great article about your parents! Reminds me of my parents. I think I have to start picking up on a couple of lessons they thought me.

On what was real valuable is that my mother always writes down all her expenses and keeps a book. This is a habit that I have been also picking up.

Ellen
Ellen
4 years 3 months ago
Congrats to the well-deserved recognition for your parents, and for you, as well! Growing up, my father worked full time, my mom part-time. It was hard to tell when I was young, but they shared responsibility for paying the bills, and money was really, really tight. (For example, 2 days before my father would get paid – which was bi-weekly – we’d be eating peanut butter and crackers for meals.) My father has a big sense of responbility, and spoke often of paying what you owe in a timely manner, not getting into debt, etc. I saw this in his… Read more »
anonymous
anonymous
4 years 3 months ago
I think men and women are definitely different so of course I’m glad to hear that you’re going to write some hard-to-hear information about money and gender. I am a woman and I actually do think that it would be best to stay home with my young kids. But I grew up with a stay at home mom, and all she did was whine about money and my parents constantly fought about it. She always wanted a house and didn’t want to rent. When she tried to go back to work when we were all older and in school, it… Read more »
Becky
Becky
4 years 3 months ago

I ‘learned’ not to live above your means and never, never get into debt, especially credit card debt. At least that’s how my parents lived and what my parents tried to teach me. I didn’t learn. I should have. Now I’m having to learn the hard way. ouch.

Davy
Davy
4 years 3 months ago
I grew up in a family that constantly argue over money. My father is the only breadwinner in the family, while my mother stays at home. What my father earns is never enough to support our basic needs (we are seven siblings in the family), thus he resorts to credit. What you notice in his pay slip are huge amounts of debt deducted from his salary. In addition, he also gambles in the cockpit. So I grew up with the mindset, that money is difficult to earn. Now, i’m doing my best to educate myself to look for ways in… Read more »
Danielle
Danielle
4 years 3 months ago

When I was 19, my parents encouraged me to open a Roth IRA. They said for every dollar I put in, up to $1000, they would match it 100%. So with their help I began my Roth with $2000, and now I have over $30k in there.

After working 30+ years for a giant global corporation, my dad discovered in his late 50s that entrepreneurship and discovering the “next great idea” was a far better way to make money, so now he actively encourages my husband and I to think big and find success through our own merits.

Susan
Susan
4 years 3 months ago
I loved the article on your parents. It was, indeed, the cutest photo on the net. I especially liked the way your mother described involving the whole family in financial decisions, saving for large purchases, and giving thanks afterwards. I’m older than your usual demographic. My parents were both alive during the Great Depression of the 1930s. What they taught me about money, was only by example: — The man in the breadwinner, the woman is the homemaker. I disagreed, as I wanted many things (pets) they didn’t want to provide. So I started earning money on my own at… Read more »
Jessica
Jessica
4 years 3 months ago

I learned from my mother that you look for a bargain, ask if someone will take less, but be kind about it, and you track every penny. I also learned that an item on sale (even an incredible one) that you don’t need is still a waste of money. I learned from my Dad that it’s okay to use some of your money to have fun, like go out to eat or go on vacation, as long as it’s done within your means.

Lucille
4 years 3 months ago

Ramit…it’s great that you’re so positive about your parents. I’m a second gen. Asian but my parents taught me fear. There was no love in our home, certainly not the unconditional kind, it was abusive – emotionally and financially. I’m on the other side of the coin…the immigrant failure story. All I can do is work and educate myself as best I can. That said, I thank my parents for what they couldn’t give me…’cos it means that I’ve started at the bottom, on the way up, and it’s all credit to the power of purposeful negativitiy!

kate
kate
4 years 3 months ago

The things i learned from my mother were to not have credit or pay it off immediately, always make/stash your own money (never be financially trapped in a relationship!), and take a small part of any windfall and spend it on something fun and frivolous lol

my father (divorced, obviously) i learned you should really just fix stuff yourself, there are books, go learn how to do it and don’t pay someone else (i may have learned this, but i rarely practice it)

Jill
Jill
4 years 3 months ago

I learned that education is not the reason for wealth. My mom who didn’t attend college was an unlikely entrepreneur in my family while my dad with an MBA struggled to get noticed in his field. She had a unique product that turned into a home business and made tons of money while my dad worked 9-5, hated his job and took no risks.

Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 3 months ago
I learned good stuff and bad stuff. Good stuff – you don’t spend what you don’t have, you save for the things you really want and if they’re not worth saving for then you probably didn’t really want them in the first place, that part of what you have should be spent to help those who have less than you do, that once you have enough to meet your needs and some of your wants it’s better to spend time at home with your family than trying to make even more. And how important it is to have dinner as… Read more »
Caitlin
Caitlin
4 years 3 months ago
My first financial encounter was when I was around 12 years old and wanted to join a popular CD mailing company. My mother immediately told me “You’re going to screw up your credit!” and, while this didn’t make any sense at the time, I knew she was worried about something important from her tone. She closely monitored me and taught me the importance of paying bills before the due date. When I graduated high school, I was taught about credit cards and how to only spend what I can pay back at the end of the month. Sometimes I feel… Read more »
Tim Rosanelli
4 years 3 months ago
My dad was a bank manager and my mom was a accountant so finances were discussed fairly openly. Plus, we have multiple generations of entrepreneurs within our family. Most of the lessons seem very simple but they were very effective. 1. Spend less than you earn – We were influenced to save money from a very early age. My dad got us a saving account at the bank at about 5 yrs old. 2. Always have an emergency fund – Things always happen so prepare for it. 3. Invest early – My dad got me to invest in my first… Read more »
Logan
Logan
4 years 3 months ago
This is such a fascinating topic. Thank you Ramit. My father grew up wealthy. My grandfather owned a number of businesses but he and my grandmother were profligate spenders, never saving a penny that they earned. When my grandfather died at 86, he was still working, and my grandmother now qualifies for Medicaid. My father was smart enough to learn from their example, and got a doctorate, worked hard, and earned a good peak salary before retirement. He and my mother spent frugally, saved heavily, and invested wisely. My Dad recently told me that he has never once not paid… Read more »
tesseracts
tesseracts
4 years 3 months ago
My father is overly cautious and frugal. He has a good job with a 6 figure income, but he lost a lot during the stock market crash of 2008. I have trouble affording college now, although with my dad’s income I think I shouldn’t. My mother told my father to sell his stocks soon before the crash. He said he would, and never did. The reason he did not sell the stocks is because he feels like he loses money if he sell the stock and it continues to rise. My fathers overly cautious attitude has saved me from the… Read more »
tesseracts
tesseracts
4 years 3 months ago

I want to add that my father came from a really poor family on welfare which really screwed up his attitudes about money. My mother had the opposite background. She developed a habit of spending too much. She spends beyond her means on luxuries like bags and sushi. If she cannot buy things she feels deprived. Although my mother paid my fathers way through college, and she has her own smaller income, so it is not a totally parasitic relationship.

Jay
Jay
4 years 3 months ago
As the youngest of three and only son of two war refugees, I didn’t realize how different the perception of money can be to different cultures and generations especially while growing up. My parents came from nothing, literally – their lives turned upside down during the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia following the Vietnam War. They watched their friends and family be murdered before their eyes; they were forced into hard-labor camps before valiantly escaping the Khmer Rouge to Thailand after which they were miraculously sponsored to the US by an Italian-American family. Before their first year in the States,… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
4 years 3 months ago

I learned that I need to be able to support myself – after high school I was on my own. I think my parents sometimes wished I wasn’t quite so independent…but I wish I would have learned things like networking and running your own business from my dad.

Ani
Ani
4 years 3 months ago

Dear Ramit,
I learnt from my grandparents that I’m the greatest person on Earth. This helped me cope with a lot of difficult times as I got by by laughing at the rest of you losers.

Congrats on featuring on the NYT!

Ani

Matt
4 years 3 months ago

Speak….once you deliver your price you need to Shut up and not say a word..this is the hardest thing to do..

Amarjit S Duggal
Amarjit S Duggal
4 years 3 months ago

How can we meet this guy

Antonia Lo Giudice
4 years 3 months ago
Hi Ramit I laughed so much at the part about your dad negotiating for a car and getting the mats in the end:) I am of Italian background, let me tell you, my parents generation would negotiate for practically anything! My mom would ask for a discount at the check out counter of the grocery store! In those days, we had corner store grocery stores. In the neighbourhood I grew up, the grocery store was owned by an Italian. Well, although she did not really get a discount, she did always come back with some special treat that she would… Read more »
hannah
hannah
4 years 3 months ago
my dad started teaching my sister and i about saving when we were pretty young. i got the lecture on compounding interest, complete with excel spreadsheets, every year starting in middle school. around then, we started getting an allowance for doing chores around the house, but he would “match” however much we put into our savings – so we had an incentive to save rather than spend. my parents then set us up with a roth IRA when we turned 16, and trained us to contribute yearly. then fast forward through college, being careless and stupid (not being thoughtful about… Read more »
Angela
Angela
4 years 3 months ago

My parent’s had the exact same furniture as your parents did in the photo. Haha They definitively taught me how to stretch a dollar. Without their guidance (or, really lack thereof) I would not have learned to be responsible in any spectrum of my life. Hated it when I was younger, but in retrospect I have grown so much.

Kat
Kat
4 years 3 months ago
Great article about your family. What I learned from my parents… 1.) The Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold makes the rules. This was one of my dad’s favorite sayings and it still makes me laugh. I learned that money gives you options and choices. The more money you have, the more choices you have. 2.) Love fades. Marry for money. This is another direct quote from my dad. I should note that come June, my parents will have been happily married for 41 years. My dad’s point was that “passion” and “chemistry” aren’t enough to sustain a relationship. You… Read more »
Edward Wong
Edward Wong
4 years 3 months ago
I was a kid coming home from school and I blew away my day’s pocket money on a large ice-cream cone. My dad got angry and he went on to lecture me about money. I probably missed 90% of it, but the one thing that did stick was this line: “If you want to buy a drink that costs $1, but you only have 90 cents, YOU CANNOT BUY IT!!!”. I thought he was crazy at the time, I mean, it’s just a friggin’ ice cream cone. But many years later, I finally realized the wisdom of his words and… Read more »
Anand Gurumoorthy
Anand Gurumoorthy
4 years 3 months ago

Been following your website for a month. Planning to read your book soon. Happy to see a fellow Indian doing well as a wealth advisor.

Claire
Claire
4 years 3 months ago
The first thing I heard about credit cards from my dad was that you don’t use it as a loan but pay it in full monthly. The first thing I heard about stocks was buy and hold. The other was to read about Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch. My dad opened Roth IRAs for us in college. Those several years head start have a HUGE effect which will amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars difference. My mom tells us to be prepared for the worst like every day. In my late 20s, I thought if I ever became disabled… Read more »
q smith
q smith
4 years 3 months ago
i learned: overt scripts – discussions with mom and dad: – men see a $ as a step toward freedom (imagine you are a puppet with a million strings. every dollar saved is like cutting a string. when you have a million you are free…) – women see a $ as a way to make the home nicer, to make the family happier – these 2 views conflict and cause divorce when mom buys curtains and dad fears the “death of the salesman” (my dad was a divorce lawyer from 1956 until retirement in 1971) – the man and woman… Read more »
Tara M.
4 years 3 months ago
Thanks for sharing that link, Ramit! I think I’m very conscious of spending because I was raised by my grandparents who had a solid WWII-era economic mindframe. My grandmother was very big on saving every last drop of everything…she would swish water into nearly-empty condiment bottles to get that very last bit of ketchup or mayonnaise. She would also save soap slivers in a plastic bag and, when she had enough, she would put them together and make a new bar of soap. My grandfather, who was a mechanical engineer at GE for most of his career, would fix just… Read more »
Gerard
Gerard
4 years 3 months ago

I learned this lesson late, because my dad taught it late. But one day, we were walking past a Peugeot 307 CC (a convertible car that America does not have) and he asked me how much it cost. I told him and he told me that he thinks that that was an awful lot of money for a very small amount of car.
Mind you, my dad’s a millionaire.

Chris Hess
4 years 3 months ago
Growing up we lived comfortably. I never really thought about my parent’s money but it turned out it was because my Dad was financially wise. He saw early on in their marriage the things my Mom loved to spend money on (giving gifts for example) so he started a budget for those things so there was always money. I didn’t learn this until I was older but that habit just makes sense to me when I read about Ramit’s automatic savings plans. I’m not sure if Dad taught me it without me realizing it through his daily actions. I’ve always… Read more »
Dustin
4 years 3 months ago

My parents did not teach me about money. They divorced when I was 11, and my mom became a single parent. I knew how to save money for big purchases, but that was all.

When I became an adult, I learned the hard way that DEBT IS BAD. Nobody taught me this growing up. If there was a way this lesson could have been taught earlier, it would have saved me a lot of trouble.

Dustin
4 years 3 months ago

I should also add my personal beliefs:

Money is shared by the family. I am the primary bread winner, and I plan for my wife to stay at home to raise our children (on my teacher’s income, yes we can do it!) When I become the sole breadwinner of the family, the money is still family money, not just mine.

Sean
4 years 3 months ago

Love this post.. it resonates with us. We have managed to force ourselves through the whole process but have only seen a very small ROI on time and money invested, however it proves the model works, with the right product and market mix. We are planning attempt 3 very soon. Thanks for the inspiration!!

Nitin
Nitin
4 years 3 months ago
Hi Ramit, Nice to see the cutest photo in the whole world. My dad grew up in a family of 12 siblings, he was 4th kid in the family and he had to work in the family farm whole day. Out of the 12 siblings only my dad and his elder brother used to work in the farm and then try to attend school and rest of the siblings were given a chance to go to school, but out of them only my dad went to college on his own, without my grandfather paying for his school or college. He… Read more »
Financial Advice for Young Professionals

I am content with working a good paying job now so that I may semi-retire to a profession I really enjoy in 5-10 years. It’s all about making the small sacrifices now so that you may benefit later..

Sara Youner
Sara Youner
4 years 3 months ago

From my father I learned that being fiscally irresponsible means you get what you want but your kids are screwed. Do I sound bitter? I’m trying to figure out how to pay my father’s funeral bills out of his nonexistant estate. From my mother I learned that saving is important but you shouldnt forget to enjoy life a little. She left me a little money but practically wore rags to work(not kidding)

Timothy Moser
4 years 3 months ago

I learned that high income doesn’t mean rich lifestyle.

1. You can make a lot of money but spend most of it on mortgages and auto loans.
2. You can make a lot of money and save and invest most of it for your later years.

After seeing my parents’ example, I will hopefully fall into the second category better than they do.

Angela
Angela
4 years 3 months ago
Both my parents are spenders and I learned my spending habits from them. I saw them spend money on clothes, toys, stuff for the house. My parents will spend money like its water. My dad had the mentality that he could always make more. He had his own diesel repair shop. He did make a lot of money and has been successful for many years. My sister and I did not need or want for anything. I wish my parents had taught me more about saving. I am very thankfully I have been following you for the last four years… Read more »
Jordan
Jordan
4 years 3 months ago

Honestly, my parents didn’t talk with me a ton about money. They started me out with the jars for saving and spending when I was little and gave me some pointers when I got my first debit/credit cards, but other than that financial advice was pretty sparse. I usually had to really, really push them to get any info on how we were actually doing. We were always fine, but I usually got told that it wasn’t something I needed to worry about. I was just curious….which is why I’m here I guess. I want to learn.

Les
Les
4 years 3 months ago
Great article! My parents are immigrants, both working until I was 7, when my brother was born and my mom stopped working to raise us. In fact, she was making more money than my dad (a carpenter) as a housekeeper. My first lesson in savings and banks occurred at a young age. Growing up I had a ceramic Mickey Mouse piggy bank (it was 3 feet high), and my parents would always give me their change at the end of the day so that I could “feed” Mickey. When I was 8, my mom broke Mickey apart with a hammer… Read more »
Trinity
Trinity
4 years 3 months ago

My mother never saved any money for any emergency and she was always asking different people to help her pay the bills. As I got older I learned to always have some sort of savings even if it was a few hundred dollars because you never know when life will throw you a curve ball. I never want to deal with the stress of not being able to pay a bill on time.

Giri
Giri
4 years 3 months ago
Hey Ramit, This sure is a SWEET picture! I dont know if this is an Indian thing – my dad always took me out on all shopping errands right from when I was a 4-5 year old kid. I would carry the coins and he would pay the exact amounts just so he could ask me for the change and get me to count. Then I was moved on to collecting the change from them. I would be terribly shy to point out if they were wrong. Another time, our regular shopkeeper’s assistant had given me a rupee more in… Read more »
Suzette
Suzette
4 years 3 months ago
Im in my very early 40’s. My Father raised me to never rely on someone else for your income. ( meaning a husband in my case). He was a Doctor and my Mom was a housewife. She ended up with nothing after their divorce when I was a young girl and she lived her life always struggling. Also, my Father was an extremely frugal man. I finally married recently. I started my own businesses by the time I was 26 and have had many other businesses in my life up until I married recently…my knowledge of business helps my husband.… Read more »
Sunil
Sunil
4 years 3 months ago
I learned several important financial scripts (and not-scripts) from my parents: 1) As both my mom and dad worked hard to earn a living after immigrating here, I learned that Hard Work really can be rewarded. 2) As my Dad has always been very risk adverse, and from my perspective too risk adverse, and my Mom has always been very risk seeking, almost too risk seeking, I gained a great sense of what to avoid and what to go “all-in” for. 3) I learned that how important having a budget and a plan with your money really is. My parents… Read more »
James
James
4 years 3 months ago

My dad taught me that I was destined to succeed via palm reading, and that I would do it specifically through providing tremendous amounts of value to others and receiving a tremendous amount of value in return.

I’m doing pretty well for myself, and a lot of it has to do with this ingrained sense that it’s just part of who I am to do good things and receive a good reward. That sneaky, conniving bastard. I don’t even believe in that stuff, but it caused me to believe in myself.

Ian
Ian
4 years 3 months ago

I learned: Money doesn’t grow on trees, except when it does.. then we are broke except we can get a brand new tv… I learned not to ask about money, let alone discuss it. When we wanted to do something we were more or less intimidated with the cost (and a very angry looking parent.) In essence, I learned money was a very scary evil thing.

Adam P
Adam P
4 years 3 months ago
I am lucky to have parents like you Ramit. I grew up with Dad at work and mom with me and sis. She took the apartment caretaker position for reduced rent and it was something she could do with us around. She cried when they bought their first house. She was so afraid that $39,000 was way too much for them to handle. She took a production artist job by the time I was in junior high. What I didn’t know was we continued to live on my father’s income and she saved everything! That house she cried over sold… Read more »
her every cent counts
4 years 3 months ago
Here’s what I learned from my parents about money roles… By the time I was born, my mother had quit her job as a fashion designer to become a stay-at-home mother. This was in 1983. My father had dropped out of graduate school and was already succeeding in his professional career as an actuary. While we were never rich, we were definitely upper middle class on a one-income salary. Life was good. Or so it appeared. But inside my family life, my father was very abusive to my mother. Much of the fighting had to do with money. She would… Read more »
Shaquita
Shaquita
4 years 3 months ago
I learned what not to do with my money. Both of my parents are 43 with no emergency fund and no retirement fund. Last August they moved in with me for a year to get their finances together and to date they have saved nothing. My financial education began in college when I joined a smart money group. Through them I learned about books like Smart Women Finish Rich and I Will Teach You to be Rich. These books changed my life and my financial future. Since reading them I started contributing to a ROTH IRA (which I am maxing… Read more »
someone
someone
4 years 3 months ago
My parents taught me to read Consumer Reports, research big purchases, and focus on value. My dad apparently had a subscription to CR in college or law school, and it was one of the things that attracted my mom to him. Yeah. My mom taught me to be assertive in holding vendors to their warranties, advertised sales, and so on. My mom taught me very the importance of saving, opening a Roth for me when I was self-employed as a babysitter in high school. She took my sister and me to attend a seminar on financial planning for women when… Read more »
someone
someone
4 years 3 months ago

Also, I learned that there’s nothing weird about a weird about a woman earning 2x more than her husband. I was told what kinds of discrimination I would face in male-dominated fields and how this might limit my advancement. There was always the expectation that I would pay my own way, though I never wanted to be as wealthy as my parents–they clearly traded some of their own happiness (jobs they enjoyed) for money. Ten years after college, I’m working as hard as they do but earning ~6% of their combined salary.

someone
someone
4 years 3 months ago
Last flashback: One morning, I asked my parents why they weren’t using all the coupons that came with the newspaper. I remember my mother explaining to me exactly how she valued (i.e., calculated the worth of) her time, and that it didn’t make sense for her to spend any of her leisure time clipping coupons for 50 cents off a box of cereal. In the same conversation, we established that the coupons represented a relatively great source of income for me. My parents kindly let me keep all of our savings from coupons, as long as I did the work… Read more »
nha
nha
4 years 3 months ago
I learned a lot from parents. Both died in the last 10 years, I was fortunate to inherit, not a fortune but a reasonable amount. They saved all their lives but were unable to take advantage of it. What I draw from this is that we need balance. Provide for the future but enjoy the now. After clearing my mother’s house of stuff, I realized that most of what we collect through our lives is crap and worthless. Only buy something if you are going to really use it our love it. Really, just remain conscious of your actions with… Read more »
Patti
Patti
4 years 3 months ago

Thank you for sharing the article and all of the comments. You show credibility and I’m grateful for finding you.
I look forward to a great financial future.

Susan
4 years 3 months ago
My Mom and Dad would take us out to dinner every now and then, and one night I was sitting next to my Dad and the bill came, and he got out a credit card. I had never seen one and I asked him what it was, and he said it was a credit card and he said that you could use it like money and then a bill would come the next month. And then he said, “but the first month you can’t pay your bill in full then you need to cut it up”. He said if you… Read more »
A. Mehta
4 years 3 months ago

This is how you have proved to be great!
Respect your Elders, But most of all Respect your Parents!

Nice Pic Ramit – & Thanks for sharing with us.
A. Mehta

BV
BV
4 years 3 months ago
My parents never taught me a thing about money, really. At school my mobile phone bills would be £100/month, regularly, and I’d get yelled at but not taught. My father was rubbish with payments/being responsible – he almost lost his flat in town because he was away and had forgotten to get payments handled, my mother was the one who saved it (even though they were divorced) My father was adamant that I got sent to a (good) and very expensive school. He contribued one year’s fees out of 7, if we only take into account secondary school. Simply put,… Read more »
mercadeo en linea
4 years 3 months ago
i think just having heard parents discuss finances, having a “moola moola” account with my little savings book, having a piggy bank…etc. then, when i was 13, knowing that my parents wouldn’t give me money for anything i wanted at any given time, i started working at a local motocross track with my dad on weekends when there was a race. it was my dad’s friend’s track, and they always needed help. i’d make $30-$50 depending on the job i did that weekend. i saved up my money and spent it on things i wanted that my parents couldn’t buy.… Read more »
SB @ One Cent At A Time
4 years 3 months ago

Oye tu pubjub dee puttar ho? Good to know. You probably don’t know me but I read your articles all the time, not every one of them. You’re one of my inspiration.

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