What’s one money message you grew up with?

What are the hidden beliefs that shape the way we think about money?

Ramit Sethi

A quick one for today:

Which of these money messages did you grow up with?

  • “Save for a rainy day”
  • “We don’t talk about money in this house”
  • “Rich people stepped on someone to get where they are”
  • “We always have money for education”
  • “Money comes, money goes”

I’m collecting a list of money messages around us — think “invisible scripts for money.”

Please leave a comment below sharing one money message you heard while you were growing up.

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  1. Steven Danner

    "You never want to pay interest on anything except a house"

    • Tim Starchuk

      Mine was similar. Never go into debt and everything will be fine. People with credit card debt are idiots and bad with money.

    • Charles Cox

      You have to save up for years and live frugally to even make a half assed attempt in your career

    • Michelle

      “You only live once”
      “You can’t take it with you”

    • Tyler

      Growing up, my dad always told my sister and me the following things:
      -"Nothing is free."
      -"Save ten cents of every dollar".
      -"Figure out who is going to pay for you to live when you get old."

    • Tom Trainer

      on spending too much:

      "We are going to end up in the poor house."

    • Ron

      Mine was paradoxal…. Money doesn't grow on trees…..yet my dad earned a living by being a logger.(harvester of trees)

    • DeeDee Hunt

      My dad ALWAYS said "we're broke" whenever we asked for anything that cost money.

    • Wendy

      Mine was. Money doesn't grow on trees. The constant talk about having to work overtime to pay for everything. This taught me that I would always have to strain myself to create the money to cover the bills. There was no talk about ease and flow. And yeah my parents talking crazy about rich people. They always felt like they needed to share their wealth. I remember asking my mother once why she felt like Oprah should give her some of her fortune. Her response was…well she doesn't need all of that money and then I asked. Well, momma, did you write Oprah a letter and ask her for the money?

    • Cathie Barton

      My mother always said, "Life would be easier if I had a bucket full of money" to grab the cash needed when things go wrong or need fixing.

    • Damian Ford

      Parents: "I have x dollars to buy you a winter jacket. If you want that (cooler) winter jacket it will cost you the difference."
      Me: "I'll use my paper route money to give you the difference."

      -The price of looking cool!

      To my parent's credit, I always knew how much money my Mom and Dad made. They were raising four kids so they had to make sure we were all taken care of. We saw all the sacrifices and the windfalls.

    • Marcy

      Whoa! When I read “We don’t talk about money in this house, Marcy” I heard my dad's voice come into my head loud and clear!

    • Michael

      Money won't make you happy, but you'd rather be sad and rich than sad and poor….

    • Max

      "Stretch your legs if only – your blanket is long enough" Meaning don't waste money if you're not earning enough to be wasting them.

    • Vincent

      My parents always drilled into us that we need to save for a rainy day and budget our expenses on a daily/ weekly basis so that at the end of the month we could see how and where we spent our money. Bottom line 'Save , Save and Save'

    • Brady Mills

      Work before play and save and invest.

    • Jarred

      We will spend an hour to save $5.

    • Kenny Sabarese

      Dad: “Make more money than I did.”

    • Peter

      Two good, opposite almost, viewpoints from my parents.

      We were well off financially but we lived well below our means. Think 6 figure income, sub 50k lifestyle. My parents both lived simple lives and I learned that life isn't about spending money just because you have it. My dad, frugal as he was, still was obsessed with making more, and lost a lot of it in 08, trading stocks, and leveraging debt, even though he/we didn't have the lifestyle that needed it. We have student debt that wouldn't exist had he helped rather than try and win at stocks (the interest on SL debt is so slow compared to market returns…).

      My mom, also frugal, notes that money not spent is just "grass for the cows" (an old country proverb to that effect). My dad was obsessed with being a millionaire/having money, though he had no desire to spend any of it. She instilled the core principle that money is a tool and is only useful for what you can use it for (including financial security, retirement).

    • Matt

      Don't do what we're doing. Don't be like us. Save for a rainy day. Rich people got that way by being tight with their money. A penny saved is a penny earned. All were messages I heard multiple times growing up.

    • Jay

      It takes money to make money !

    • Chris

      Never, ever keep a balance on a credit card.

    • Khalid

      "You think money grows on trees!!?!!"

    • Heather Ross

      "We don't have enough." It didn't seem to matter how much there was either, so it was really a mindset thing.

    • Brad Raburn

      Dad – "You have to spend money to make money" (was always expanding his business)
      Mom – "We don't have money for that right now" (this mantra never changed)

    • Teri Fullmer

      Money doesn't grow on trees

    • Ken Maszy

      Making more is always an option.

    • Lisa

      Money doesn't grow on trees!

    • Nicole Concepcion

      Money in, money out.
      Money isn't wealth.
      Become your own boss is how you really can earn a means to create family wealth

    • Chuck-Hou Yee

      Always save — don't eat out at restaurants, cut your own hair, never buy treats for yourself. Why? To delay gratification until you're retired, because only then can you relax and enjoy.

    • Cynthia Wolf

      My Dad said "You have to work hard to make enough money"

    • Derrick Long

      "Cheap things are just as good as expensive things."

    • Conundra

      You add by saving, but you multiple by investing.

    • Kelsey

      "I'm not made of money!" – my dad whenever I asked for socks or bras or something totally needed. However, he made $200k+ so we HAD money but because he didn't budget well he would spend on TVs or eating out too often and then he would freak out over the little stuff and try to control spending on the things that are miniscule. You never knew if he was gonna generously give you $200 to spend on clothes or if he was gonna make you feel bad for asking for socks. Very confusing.

    • Boris

      "Money doesn't grow on trees"
      "Money changes people"

    • Sara

      Same. "Putting money into a car is a waste." Which is why everyone in my family drove a Toyota Camry older than they were. And if we couldn't get a Toyota, we got the cheapest car we could find and built rapport with our mechanic!

    • bemoneyaware

      We were taught that you need to work hard for money.
      There will always be money for all your needs but not all your wants

    • Dani

      "The rich never want to pay their taxes, they just say 'My money! My money!'"

    • Andrea

      Money doesn't grow on trees. "Must be nice," when someone else bought something or went on a vacation. We can't afford that. The list goes on and onnnnn.

    • Jason

      There's always money in the banana stand.

    • Jenn

      The cliche "Money doesn't grow on trees!"

    • Noah Klementz

      That there is such thing as a standard form of debt. such as a car, house, school loans. forms of debt that most people live with everyday.

    • Dennis

      Money comes, money goes.

    • J

      Money doesn't grow on trees.

    • Daichi

      My mom always insists on paying people back (even her own kids) even when they say they don't need her to. She says "Money changes things"

      "your health is the most important" – deemphasizing the value of money

    • ranjani rangan

      Nothing is Free.

    • Sahil

      My parents had this motto that "there is always money for education" even if we didn't have it. At the same time they were frugal as hell. Eating out wasn't a matter of going to a nice restaurant and enjoying a nice meal. Instead it was more along the lines of "what is the most amount of food we can get whilst spending as little money as possible"

    • Mikaela Hansen

      Money doesn’t buy happiness.

    • John

      Save for a rainy day.

    • Maneesh

      save your money, you might lose your job at anytime.

    • Chani

      Plan for unforseen expenses.
      Keep a "cushion" (money you never touch unless it is an emergency) in your bank account.
      Never go into debt.

    • Lee Germeroth

      My dad used to always say, "if a problem can be fixed with money, then it isn't a problem."

    • Emily

      "You can't assume you'll get your money back from stock."

    • Rasa Estee

      There's a lot of history of poverty in my family going back generations. My mother had to abandoned college due to her family falling into poverty, only then to meet my birth father who abandoned her and my sister penniless when she was heavily pregnant with me. Her family saved her life by tracking him down and getting her a divorce. He later became quite the con artist: lying and extorting money from people including my older sister that I had to step up and cut all ties with him. Last time I saw him, he was 65 years old, looking to reconnect yet stll can't get out of the habit of extorting money. So he tried with me. No go. I forgave him and now can rest peacefully in my decision to keep zero communication.

    • Harm G.

      Pay yourself first!

    • Su

      #Money is important, without it we cannot do much!

      #Rich people are often bad people, we don’t know how they made their money?!

    • Victoria

      "Money doesn't grow on trees!"
      As well as the notion that obtaining money was difficult, I also grew up with the distinct impression that any desire for money was a bad thing – only bad people made good money.

    • El Rattray

      parent 1: “You only live once”
      parent 2: "There is not many jobs out there, so stay put"

    • Tom

      Cry Once.

      Its better to spend a little bit more than you planned on something of better quality than to spend less now and have to replace it sooner. Kitchen cookware and kitchen knives both fall into that category, for example.

    • Jennifer

      "Rob Peter to pay Paul."~my Mom.

      "Experiences, like opportunities to travel, and education are important."~my Mom & Dad. Truthfully my mom was more focused on us having experiences and sacrificing for it than my dad.

      "Quality is important." Yet when a thrift store solution would have fixed a problem, that was never the solution. Had a kitchen table for years (not sure really how long but in my child concept of time, it was long) that had one broken leg that was precariously propped under its corner. Invariably, someone would bump it during dinner sending it to the floor, the table would lurch to the floor at that corner as we all scrambled to grab dinner and dishes before they hit the floor. They finally bought a nice "quality" piece but we could've inexpensively and quickly solved the problem with a thrift store or yard sale find while they saved up for the new table (not sure they paid for the new table in cash anyway).

      When I went off to college, I couldn't apply for financial aid because my father hadn't filed taxes for several years. My younger sister wisely got on him so that when she went to school a year later, he had his taxes done and we both were able to get financial aid. I should mention that she went on to become a CPA.

      My older brother is "the last of the big spenders." He thinks that picking up the tab for a group at the bar (even people that don't really know him) will gain him friends and potential clients (he's a realtor). Needlesstosay that hasn't worked for him.

      Ah, the varied money messages of my childhood…

    • Greg

      Money is something to worry about, and a source of stress and conflict.

    • Clint Britton

      You want money you'll have to earn it. Or you want money go get a job

    • Sonia Singh

      Pay for everything in cash as much as possible. No debt. Pay off your house as soon as you can. Save save save. Eating out and spending money on entertainment is a waste. Only buy things when they’re on sale. You can earn as much as you want as long as you are willing to work harder for it. There’s always money for education. Education is the best investment.

    • Tarra Brazeau

      Money doesn't grow on trees!

    • David

      One of my favorites: "It takes money to make money."

    • David

      My dad giving money and dating advice: "Girls are just a waste of time and money".

    • Jinghuan

      Money is not everyting, but without money you can't do anything.

    • Tom Vaughan-Mountford

      “Look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves.” I always thought it made more sense to not sweat the small stuff and to make the pounds a priority!

    • Senzo

      If have a lot of money you will die young, people with lot of money dont live longer>

    • Victoria

      My Dad never talked about it, I knew we were more on the "poor" side but never by how much. If frustrated me so much because even when I asked, he would refuse to talk about it. I grew up never knowing the costs of anything, or how close we were to actually being broke. It made me stress so much more than if I had actually known… I would never ask for anything and worry about food groceries each week. Looking back, all I wanted was just a little information and guidance.

    • Nick

      You don't need money, all you need is a room and food. Everything else is arrogance

    • Meg

      Here's a handful:

      Money is for spending!
      Big money comes through hard work.
      Money is easily spent and hardly earned.
      A woman with money is like a maniac with a machine gun.
      Yeah, you save it, and then banks go bankrupt / or inflation devalues it/ or they steal it from you (how empowering, huh??)
      A drop by drop makes a sea. When you learn saving, you'll always be prosperous.

      Thank you for the cool post! 🙂

    • Chandler Borders

      When I wan little, my dad would ask me: "What do you do with money?".

      I would reply: "Put it in the bank!".

    • Azman

      It is hard to make more, so saving the maximum amount, event if it is 10 cent is your responsibility.

    • Nobantu NGALOSHE

      – Wealth acquisition is not an elevated enough preoccupation
      – We don't have money (no sh*t, Mum, Dad…)
      – Credit in all its forms is contemptible

    • Brad McKlveen

      The money's not going to make itself, get to work.

    • Goitsemang Moagi

      "Do not live a life you cannot afford. Grow your finances first then upgrade your life style."

    • Roobah

      "Why buy new when quality used will do?" My parents said. They owned a second-hand store, and EVERY Christmas and birthday present I got was something used, whether it was an electric typewriter (mid-1970s), or an almost new Fender Jaguar guitar, leather carving tool set, and so on. Even today, I rarely buy anything new.

  2. Frederick T Schurger

    “We don’t talk about money" This was something that's been stuck in my brain b/c my we were relatively well off, as my father (and grandparents) were lawyers. But that shrewd level of savings they had didn't rub off in an efficient way

    • Maureen Olesen

      Never tell your colleagues how much you earn.

    • Esau Turcios

      With money you can make things happen. Or this one lately, go to x job they make more money there faster. Which means bust your butt physically so you have nicer things when you're old.

  3. Nathan

    "Debt is a tool."

  4. Light

    "Money doesn't grow on trees"

    • Lucas Arruda

      I got that one too, all the time.

      We had to save every penny possible, even if that would mean having as few lights on as possible.

    • Ann

      I heard that one too and always argued it was paper so it was trees! 🙂

    • Sharon

      This was my parents favourite line too.

    • Rose

      Yes, this.

  5. Carlyn Cowen

    "We're too poor to be cheap"

    • Lucinda

      This and: " You just have to save more than you spend"

    • Susie

      Money won’t make you happy! I watched my dad spend every penny he made (not good decision making) and now he is still doing that very thing! I learned NOT to be like him.

  6. Brian Robinson

    "Curb your Spending!" – A common quote from my dad in the back ground while telling my mom (over the phone) about something new I just purchased.

  7. Sharon Jones

    save, but in this day in time I can't prices are so high.

  8. Lucas Arruda

    Basically, "be safe", with the following marks:

    "Plan for the future, you never know."
    "Go to college (medicine, engineering or advocacy – only), get a good stable job (probably work for government)."
    "Have a stable and good paying job, it's the only safe way."

    • Nina

      Same here…

    • Jackie Reuter

      Work hard and you'll have what you need, but maybe not what you want.

      Save for your future, pay everything on time.

      We can't afford that right now.

      Education is a worthwhile investment (shown by them paying for 2 years of college completely out of pocket.)

      Buy everything on sale, buy necessities in bulk, it's cheaper.

  9. Ahmad

    If you are meant to have it, you will. If not, you won’t!

    • Tee

      Yes, I heard this one at my friend’s house all the time!

  10. Kendra Richter

    "You can own anything you want in life, as long as you can make the payments!" – Ouf.

  11. Teodora Starovlah

    Money is important but not the most important thing in the world!

  12. Sam

    If you can, spend other people's money. And keep your own cash on hand — never pay down debt in full if it's interest free, because you never know when an opportunity might arise in which you need that cash to make something happen.

  13. Jo

    You have to marry a rich man to have money.

    • Mari

      Yup. And its collorary. Good mothers don’t work (or make or have money). Good mothers only take care of their children and husband.

      Don’t make too much money or you will intimidate men (and won’t “catch” one).

      We’re not wealthy. (The word rich was not allowed because it’s bad to be rich. Rich people are evil.)

    • Star

      Same here.

      And that phrase was concluded with you have to be a beautiful fish-brained bitch to land a rich guy..

  14. nafisa a.

    Cut your coat according to your cloth.

  15. Marie

    Saving was never a priority in my home growing up. My mom would say, "I work hard so I should be able to live comfortably." Meanwhile, my dad who never graduated college seemed to believe that wealth creation was not his destiny.
    I've had to teach myself otherwise by reading every personal finance book I can find

  16. Chris Bridges

    "Money doesn't grow on trees" was my parents mantra

  17. nadia

    Always have savings – only now thats proving impossible

  18. RMF

    Buy quality items and keep them forever. Think about how long you have to work to pay for something; don't spend frivolously.

  19. Zac Shan

    Money comes, money goes

    • Annabel

      So many people saying "Money comes, money goes"… I literally never heard that expression until this week. Does it mean that you have no control over whether you have money? That money is random, like the weather?

  20. William

    "You win some, you lose some"

  21. Dave-o!

    1) Avoid any debt you can.
    2) Whenever possible, invest your money and spend the interest; don't touch the principal.
    3) Don't risk what you can't afford to lose. Do risk what you can afford to lose.

  22. Stephanie

    From my mom: "Money and material things aren't important – God is." Luckily the other message I was sent strongly from my dad was, "you can be and have whatever you want as long as you work hard enough." Guess which parent is enjoying retirement more?

  23. Justin

    "A penny saved is a penny earned" – my Grandma when I didn't pick up a penny on the ground, I was 9.

  24. Chris D.

    If you want it, save for it.

    However, that conflicted with the oldschool view that my parents did not discuss financial matters with their children, or anyone else.

  25. Michael

    "Money doesn't grow on trees" ….well now I know it does, when you own a money tree.

  26. Isabel

    There’s never enough. (Still overcoming that mindset.)

    • Terri U

      Me too. Never enough so you might as well get what you need while you can.

    • Jenna

      Me too. Really working hard to break out of the scarcity mindset.

  27. LK

    "Money makes money" (ie work in banking) and "you can only get rich working for yourself."

  28. Karen

    Save some, give some, spend some.

  29. April

    "Don't put all of your money in one place."

  30. Laura Brown

    Money is a renewable resource…

  31. Jo

    "money sucks" or rather, "we never have enough" and "I wish money was easier to make" We're a family of WORK-HARDER-and-eventually-you'll-be-rewarded kind of people. Trying to free myself of the habit of banging my head against the wall to make money, when I know smarter is the way to go.

  32. James

    Son: get a full time job. Stop this entrepreneur nonsense.

  33. Mordecai

    We need to have money to talk about money

  34. Andy Jack

    Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

  35. Chris

    "We can't afford that." or "If you want it, you'll have to save your money for it."
    I actually had my mother borrow money from me one time as a kid with a paper route so she could pay a bill. I've always worked to be out of debt, and almost got caught up in the spend what you make trap out of college. Can't live like that, at least not stress free.

  36. Vicky

    You want to work for the government and collect a pension with no stress, since private sector employers will always treat you wrong, underpay you and run away with your retirement savings.

  37. Matt

    "Money doesn't bloody grow on trees !"

    The inference was of course that we must stop and exercise extreme caution and thrift before any purchase whatsoever.
    Moreover that we (then children) had no appreciation at all just how HARD people had to work to get money, and me must then continue to work hard again, NOT to spend it.
    To be fair, my parents had 1 salary and 4 boys to being up so yeah money was tight; and I knew they made the proactive choice that my mother would stay at home and not outsource her motherhood, for our benefit, for which we are eternally grateful.

    Rest assured, 2 of the 4 boys have since recognized the invisible script we grew up with and now have rich lives (and one with a considerable and rich bank balance!) The other 2 are still as tight as ducks arses , have pleanty of savings, but have poor life !

  38. Aimee

    "If you have to ask [the price], you can't afford it."

  39. J

    Put 10% of your income away for savings.

  40. Kay

    You have to be rich to become rich. Rich people do indulge in malpractices, corruption which middle class folks cannot afford to test.

  41. Brandon Moorer

    "Save your money, don't do [insert thing I want to do]."

    To this day it stops me from taking trips, buying things I want and just "living". Lol.. what am I saving for?

  42. Justin Dux

    "If we drive to the airport that post office sends out every hour so the mortgage payment is more likely to arrive on time." When it came time for me to have my own bills my wife was very surprised that I knew this. At that moment I realized I had a very different understanding of how bills were paid on-time.

    • Annabel

      LOL, there was a time in my life when I was so broke I kept a spreadsheet of which creditors deposited my checks quickly vs. slowly (i.e., hacking the "float").

      Never want to be there again, but kinda proud of myself for being resourceful enough never to bounce a check even when I was out of work and selling random stuff from around the house to survive.

  43. Chad

    If you want to invest, you first need to save

  44. Rich

    My dad is wealthy. He sat me down at about 16 or 17 years old (about 1986) and started asking me questions, like: When you grow up, do you want to own a house? Have cars? Get married? Have kids? Go on vacations? Send your kids to college? Then he said the first of two things that impacted me: If you want to have and do all those things, the minimum amount of money you need to make as an adult is $100,000 a year. If you don't make that much, you will not be able to afford everything you want. Then the kicker. He asked me "How many hours a week do you think you should work, as an adult?" I said I dunno, like 40? He said: "Yes, about 40 hours a week–any more, and you will sacrifice your family and free time. But remember this–you can either get rich during those 40 hours, or you can NOT get rich during those 40 hours. Either way, it's the same 40 hours."

    • Cristina

      Wow! That's powerful

  45. Nuno

    “Save for a rainy day”

  46. Pradnya Bhawalkar

    You can’t take money with when you die.

  47. Ann

    Sadly I heard some of my mom's friends call people who were doing well Rich B*tches. I never felt right about that. Even at a young age I sensed their jealousy and defended people's right to enjoy a good life.

    The underlying message, however, was that "If you get rich people will be jealous and put you down."

  48. Justin Dux

    "It's not about what you make, it's about how much of that you save". My first boss of a painting company giving me a Rich Dad poor dad lesson while we cleaned equipment for the new season.

  49. JWM

    It's only money, you can always make more!

  50. Chip

    "Pay yourself first" When you receive a paycheck, put aside a little money before paying bills and buying items.

    "You have to spend money, to make money"

  51. Steve

    You can't take it with you, so you might as well have nice stuff. *facepalm*

    • Jeffrey

      You disagree?

  52. Emily

    Debt is something to be terrified of. NEVER borrow money from friends or family.

  53. Chris

    A dollar saved is a dollar earned.

  54. Jeffrey

    "You can't spend it when you're dead"
    "Money doesn't grow on trees"

    Basically, it's ok to spend money but it's not unlimited.

  55. Anu

    Save for Rainy Day.
    We always have money for education.

  56. bill

    My dad always worked his ass off in any job or business he had. Had quite a few well-off/rich clients and customers. He'd usually wonder (sometimes aloud) why none of that ever "rubbed off" on him.

    The one thing I remember him saying about wealthy people is that "You don't get that level of wealth without making a few shady deals here and there."…equated honesty with poverty.

  57. Charlie Kerhin

    “Put away 10%”
    “Invest in the stock market”

    Happy to be saving now, but a bit regretful that I put $400 into a stock 8 years ago when I was in high school. Its value has appreciated to $500, but I feel like I stole from my past self because $500 is so much easier to come by now than $400 was when I was in HS.

  58. John


    My parents didn't teach me much about managing money. I'd see mom working on the bills at our kitchen table once a month. I assume they thought that was enough for osmosis to work.

    I would get chided for "overdrafting" my account. No guidance beyond that.

    In the realm of actual management: silence.

  59. Simran

    Parent to child, "Do you think that I am a money making machine?"

    "(The love of) money is the root of all evil"

    "If you love money so much you should become a counterfeiter and print money"

    "If your left palm is itchy you are going to get money. If your right palm is itchy you are going to give away money"

  60. Mike

    “Always live below your means.”

  61. Brandon

    "When money makes money, the money money makes, makes more money"

  62. Jay

    You can't spend it when you're dead.

  63. Beverly

    Save more than you spend

  64. Daniel

    "Those who buy what they don't need, end up selling what they do need"
    Basically, the meaning = prioritize

  65. Wei

    You don’t need to spend on yourself; keep putting money away.

  66. Claire

    “Never be in a position where you have to use credit to buy your groceries.”

    • Jessica

      "We may have less than other people, but we have more than enough."

    • Jessica

      sorry, replied to your post by accident!

  67. nik

    Growing up in charismatic Christianity, it was "saving money is to rely on yourself instead of God"

  68. Seth

    My father never paid money to someone else to do what he believed he could do himself. He wanted to build/renovate the houses we lived in. I always admired that until I looked back and realized my parents have NEVER lived in a finished house. The narrative was "poor people don't spend money they don't have" (respect). But, imagine the money that could have been earned if 75% of my parents' time and energy wasn't spent flopping about at a lost-cause effort like trying to build houses!

    It's the end of the month, and I'm gratefully writing my rent check today and thinking "praise the lord that I don't have to know anything about plumbing, so I can do the stuff I want" — and this mindset is, in no small part, thanks to the content from IWTYTBR.

    • Amanda

      I hear you. I grew up in a house that was never done. My dad did build it, but man, it is tough to get past the phase of "good enough" to done…it still isn't done more than 30 years later.

  69. Erin

    Never live beyond your means.

  70. A

    We are one step away from destruction because we don't have money. There was no safety as kids because we were poor.

  71. Sean Patterson

    From your list, "Rich people stepped on someone to get where they are". The other message was "Money isn't everything. It certainly won't buy you happiness".

  72. Lily

    We’re too poor for x,y,z (everything from oranges to new clothes from Walmart) but there was always money for a pack of cigarettes for Dad.

  73. -Trillo-

    "It's rude to talk about money because it just points out how nobody has enough. And if they do, it makes them arrogant."

  74. John

    If you're so smart, how come you aren't rich?

  75. APA

    "Excess money is only something people have in America". Really :)) I was growing up in post-communist Eastern Europe, right after the '89 revolutions. And also, "money is a means to an end". Aka, it's meant to circulate.

  76. Virendra

    "Money saved is money earned"

  77. Jessica

    "We may have less than other people, but we have more than enough."

  78. Amanda Bligh

    Always pay off your credit card at the end of the month.

  79. D’Angelo

    “As long as I owe you, you’ll never be broke.”

  80. Stephanie

    "We can't afford that, don't even ask." (we never, *never* asked for toys or candy in the grocery store or anything like that)

    "We can have fun without spending money."

    "If it's important, we will find a way to pay for it no matter how hard we have to work." (thus my mother's 3rd job – working as a receptionist/bookkeeper for the gym where I took gymnastics lessons)

  81. Annabel

    Luckily, I got a lot of good financial messages from my parents:

    – Don't touch your principal.
    – Put your money to work, aka Money is a tool.
    – Take care of your money and it will take care of you.

    Every time they had some money saved up, they bought a rental property. My dad groused about plumbing and AC issues, and we kids had to paint the rooms after tenants moved out… but they had steady income and a big pile of assets that could be sold if necessary to provide capital for a new business venture. They also invested money for us kids in the stock market.

    I always feel so terrible for friends when they say things like "In our household, money meant… FIGHTS" or "trouble" or "worry." That kind of programming is hard to overcome.

    • Neil Sawers

      I didn't get good financial advice from my parents. But then I don't think they had good financial advice from their parents either. And nothing from the education system. The message I got was "There'll never be enough."

  82. T

    My parents had two very opposing views on money.

    1) "You'll only find out your partner's true views on money after you get married" (after I said I wanted to have very frank discussions on finances and money before getting married – this from the parent who had money). "Work hard and you will be rewarded" was also an old saying, but this parent doesn't say that anymore – they've noticed the shifts in the workplace and the world.

    2) "If you give to charitable works, you will get paid back tenfold". Also "entrepreneurs and saving are incompatible". These from the parent who didn't have any and was always in debt.

    • T

      And a bunch of other not-so-positive stuff, but these were the ones which were easily distilled. On the positive side, I did get things like compound interest and GICs explained relatively early, along with the dangers of taking/giving personal loans with friends/family.

  83. Derek Lee

    "Credit Cards are scams. Don't get them." Coming from a country that doesn't use the credit rating system, this rule sort of made sense, but now that I moved to the US, man I really missed out on building my credit score early.

  84. Monte

    "If your money lasts, your luck will change!"

  85. Rachelle

    You got to work hard for the money. (i.e. work isn't supposed to be fun – keeping me feeling like doing a dream job/side hustle is not 'real work')

    You'll never make that much (i.e. that's for rich people. You have an upper income limit that you have already surpassed, you don't even have a college degree! How can you make that much?)

    Traveling around the world is for ultra rich debutantes (I feel so GUILTY when we finally get to take amazing trips after working hard our whole lives to provide for our 20 something kids and putting our family first over the last 20 years. We were teen parents, and so we are living the life in reverse in some ways. We're now in our early 40's financially secure (but not independent) and although we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Ireland driving around for two weeks – I was almost ashamed to tell people we were going. I mean I can see why – some people were happy for us, but some people were… kind of just outright confused – why are your ancestors from there? or there is so much to see in the U.S. or THAT'S TWO WEEKS! or "must be nice, rich girl" Ouch. (And yeah, it is nice!)

  86. brendan o'connor

    no point in saving, you could be dead tomorrow

  87. Candace

    My parents who are immigrants say to me "It's hard to make money. You have to struggle to make money and money is hard to come by. People who are rich are because they are really smart (which implied that was not our family)".

  88. - C

    "It's not how much you make, but what you do with it."

  89. Vivian

    "I can't afford it." Heard this all the time, about almost everything. It was basically true. But it is insidious because it gets into the subconscious and provides a permanent excuse to not even try.

  90. Matt

    From my dad, and he still says this (making well over $200k a year), "Your bills will always be $100 more than you make."

  91. M Smith

    "The house is cold because your father doesn't want to spend money on heating."

  92. Elaine

    Save your money for the future. Growing up there was never any extra money, but my family stretched every dollar. We rarely ate out, my mom and I sewed, bought on sale. The thought was to spend wisely. But there was always money for cultural events like the theater and ballet. When I graduated college, I was asked, "Would I like to go to Europe (like my friends) or would I rather they pay for college?" I think I chose wisely, my parents funded my college education in its entirety, including room and board. And eventually, I went to Europe on my own dime.

  93. jessica skelly

    "Money is the root of all evil!" I have heard this used in multiple situations but the one that comes to mind most often: bitter fights among siblings (or others) over inheritance! "Money is the root of all evil" often invoked when coming to terms with a capitalist system that bumptiously ignores systemic poverty. Corruption (thinking of the hundreds of people who die in factories all-over-again and again, which are producing western labels as well as luxury goods).

  94. Zach

    "That's too expensive. Get the store brand"

  95. Emily B

    “Live below your means” was the favorite in my house.
    And every time we would drive by some nice house or hear about some lavish vacation our neighbors took, my mom would always say “and I’m sure they’re up to their eyeballs in debt!”
    Definitely shaped my spending habits

  96. Brant

    “We don’t have the money for that.”

  97. Stuart Blessman

    "The Lord will provide". Aka, what happens happens, money is the root of all evil, don't make obtaining money as a life goal, don't learn to negotiate, be grateful and thankful with what God gives you, and be sure to tithe gross not net every Sunday.

  98. Michelle

    They (people in a better neighborhood/ bigger house/ fancier job) think they're better than us.

  99. Jonathan

    "No one is worth that kind of salary." (Usually spoken of the CEO of the large manufacturing company where my grandfather worked.)

  100. Donna

    You have to work hard to get by. Underlined with a big dose of you don't deserve to be wealthy.

  101. Joelle

    As a girl: always have your own money if you get married. Have a stash – like fuck you money for your job, but she would never curse. And: we don't have enough money for that, so I'm very bad at buying stuff, even stuff that I need. I wait months before buying it. Except books. I budgeted for books like food when I didnt have $.

    • Annabel

      Haha, yeah, my mom had the same message for her daughter: always have some "mad money" of your own, in case things don't work out the way you thought they would.

    • Rachael

      My mom used to tell me this same thing. Always have a stash in case you need to run away. I'm happily married now and a financial mentor of mine asked me about a year ago why I felt I had to have that stash…I said quite frankly in case my husband ever left. He said, do you think he would? I said no never. He then asked me how I would feel if I knew my husband had a secret "get out of dodge" savings account just in case things weren't going well.

      Reversing the roles made me realize how sad that thought was (while I still understand why my mom said it all of the time!). A year later….I still have a savings account, but it's no longer secret and it's not longer for "getting out of dodge"!

  102. Cody

    My parents didn't talk about money too much, but my dad did manage to embed a couple of pretty powerful lessons onto me. I've followed them both to this day, and am fairly well off because of them.

    – Get a job with a great retirement plan
    – Never take on debt for anything other than a mortgage

  103. Rosie

    'If you're able to save, you're working too much'

    'Creative work doesn't earn much money and most people will never pay you'

    'Owning a big house is the priority, even if it means you can't afford other stuff. Even if you can't actually use most of the rooms because they're too expensive to heat'

  104. Elizabeth

    You have to go to a big-name college to earn a big degree to become a doctor/lawyer/etc. if you want to have a rich life (new car, 2-story house, dinner at a sit-down restaurant, clothes from a department store). That's not going to be you.

  105. Cassondra

    "We don't have money"

  106. Tee

    “Never have credit cards, never owe anyone. If you find a penny on the street pick it up. But if you find a bigger amount, don’t touch it. It will bring you bad luck. You gain some you lose some.”

  107. Matthias

    I’ll try to keep this brief: Well i had the worst and the best financial education possible actually.
    My parents were wealthy individuals as succesfull entrepreneurs. (My father was founder of a hotel group of 20+ budgethotels.)

    So i grew up around the message that “money was and never should ve an issue”, i had everything i wanted when inwanted it growing up. Then they sold the business and my mother left my father for one reason or the other. Important to notice: she took all the money with her since she had access to all the accounts. Needless to say she left me and my father in quite a financial disaster. From one day to the other we went from eating out in fancy restaurants to saving for months to ve able to go to mcdonalds. I saw thebdefinition of poverty then.

    That struck a cord with me and still resonates today as my “doom-scenario”, i still have vivid memories of my dad sitting at the kitchentable crying over unpaid bills.

    Situation got better eventually and my adolescence was more or less the evolution from “around poverty line” to “financially stable”. So i kinda saw the whole spectrum there.

    So if there is one scentence that would accurately describe my childhood relation towards finance, it would be:

    Nobody takes better care of your money than yourself.

  108. Beth Anne

    My mother: "Ladies don't talk about money." (Had to get over that real quick after she died when I was a teenager.)

  109. Anthea

    "That's too expensive."
    "These prices are ridiculous!" (About the price of canned soup)
    "I'll buy it, but it'd better be worth the money." (A children's book I begged for around age 7 or 8… And could never, ever admit I was disappointed by, because of that statement. Same occasion: "It's shrink wrapped, so once you open it, we can't return it.")
    "Anyone who gets a tax refund has given an interest free loan to the government instead of getting to use their money during the year." (Said at least once a year, with contempt for anyone who would be so foolish as to enjoy a tax refund.)

  110. Michael

    Money won't make you happy, but you'd rather be sad and rich than sad and poor….

  111. JD

    There's no free lunch.
    Money doesn't grow on trees.
    We can't afford it.

    There wasn't a secific script for this one, but essentially, a career isn't as important as being in full time ministry. The biggest goal in life is being in full time ministry, career and education arent as important. This has been my biggest obstacle in life.

  112. Tony

    Look after the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

  113. Sarah

    "Live below your means" and "The easiest way to be rich is to avoid all debt"

  114. Leo

    Compatible expectations and habits around money are an important cornerstone of a happy marriage or relationship; conflicts and distrust regarding finances are relationship killers.

    • Leo

      This message came from parents who are themselves highly "money compatible".

  115. Pearson

    "Rich people are smart for a reason."

  116. Samax

    "We don't have money for that." (any "luxury" item).

    "I can't afford it."

    "Don't do it for the money. Do it because it's the right thing to do."

    "Do it for the love, not the money."

    Basically, money and the desire to have money was equated with greed and evil.
    I had a lot of limiting beliefs about money. Still something I struggle with.

  117. Joseff Driver

    "People who don't understand interest pay it. People who understand interest make it."

  118. Pat

    We can't afford it.

  119. Resham

    Don't spend what you don't have

  120. Katie A

    mom always told me credit cards are bad. of course, the rebellious teen that I was – I went out and got myself a credit card at age 16 (on my own, no co-signer required).

    A couple of years ago, I taught mom how to use credit cards by paying the balance off each month and now she's kicking herself for not getting in on it sooner – she enjoys her credit card rewards VERY much.

  121. Russel

    We don’t have any money

  122. Marianne

    "If you want this, I'll buy it, but if I find that you don't wear it, (or use it), and its stuffed in your drawers or the back of your closet, then I'll be furious with you!" Love, Mom

  123. Alyssa

    "Credit cards are only for emergencies."

  124. Kris

    Manage your money well and you won't ever have to worry about money

  125. Michael Berwin

    If you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after you. – Grandma

  126. Claire

    Mine was, "money is REALLY Hard to come by," and "If you earn a lot, people will resent you and you'll be a target." It was a paradox because my parents worked really hard in their own business and made a good living, and encouraged us to do the same, but then I was always worried that people wouldn't like me if I had money. I'm so glad I noticed this invisible script so that I can break free of that!

  127. Rachael

    "Don't wait for a special occasion to wear your favorite perfume" Essentially, if you spend money on something, make sure you enjoy it!

  128. Larissa

    My parents say about my uncle who built from his garage a (now) national pharmacy franchise business: "Some people are lucky, some have to work." (hint: the lucky one was my uncle; they had to work)

  129. Michelle

    "Why should I work more? The less money I make the more scholarships you'll get."

    Yes, my dad literally said that. And my family FAFSA contribution was 0$. The same dad also refused to sign the FAFSA unless I got him out of jail. (My high school counselor found a way around it.)

    "The man makes the money and the woman keeps the home."

    This really didn't work out for my parents on many levels. It was very confusing to me too because my dad didn't make a lot of money at all and my mom didn't "keep" the home.

    And also vague anti-rich comments from my parents related to money. My parents literally wanted the government to rob the rich, for sure – it wasn't out of civic or humanistic big-picture motivations, they hated/envied the rich and wanted them to suffer. My mom didn't liked taking government support and was embarrassed about it (even though we took a LOT) but she didn't want to work outside of the home either.

    My parents were very sick and to be pitied more than to be angry with. Wow did I have a lot to learn about personal finance once I was on my own. And I did learn it and appreciate their examples of what not to do in many ways.

  130. Dan

    In Argentina having money is always seen as a bad thing, where people step on each other in order to make money or live better, maybe all the corruption over the last 50 years left that feeling embedded in the colective but also realy smart and interesting people choose to live here and find the thing they are passionate about, so i would say that you hear this a lot, and even on the evening news that “Rich people stepped on someone to get where they are", at one point it got very old and all this new information coming out online and reading books, and following your content also lead us to leave that state of mind and persuit something higher! so thank you very much! Im from Cordoba, Argentina and it is a must that people wake up and take action to live better.

  131. Darcy Latta

    “This is a problem we can throw money at” as a means of saying don’t stress about easily solvable problems. This was also used to prioritize time over money.

  132. Ari

    "We don't have extra money to throw away."

  133. Rosalind

    Limiting scripts I’ve been hearing since young:

    – Money is hard to come by
    – Wait till I strike lottery…
    – You need a lot of money to start a biz
    – Get a job if you want a stable income
    – Money is the root of all evil
    – It’s easy to suffer from losses if you do biz
    – Money makes the mare go (translation from a Chinese proverb) I’m sure if you dig into proverbs from different places, you’ll find moeny-related ones
    – No money, no talk

    Scripts I’ve heard that I perceive to be more useful:

    – Money doesn’t drop from the sky. You need to earn it.
    – There is no free lunch in this world.
    – There is a reason why the rich are rich. Find out if you wanna be rich.
    – The rich are rich cos they know how to leverage (insert some success techniques that the less rich are not doing)
    – Nobody owes us a living
    – Money is important but it cannot buy back health
    – Living a rich life is not just about money

  134. Austin

    "Money doesn't grow on trees" and "I'm not made of money"

    • Dave

      Lol yes

  135. Kim

    "You'll never be able to afford that" and "Hide those bills/debt collection notices from your father"

  136. Cartrell

    "Money talks. Bullshit walks."
    – C. out.

  137. Cassie

    "Don't worry about money, you're too young to be worried about money."

  138. DAve

    Mom: "No, it costs too much money."

  139. Jaime

    Mine would be that 1) I grew up knowing there was an unhealthy money dynamic between my parents. My mother was a compulsive saver and kept meticulous track of finances and complained endlessly about my father’s spending on frivolous junk and “things we didn’t need.” My father often bought big ticket items (tractors, tools, TVs, etc) without telling my mother first and say “it’s always better to ask for forgiveness than permission”). I learned that being sneaky about money was ok (it’s not!!) 2) My mother was adamant that the only way to succeed was to get a stable full time job with benefits and save money. “Don’t waste your money on useless extras!” i.e. anything enjoyable, you had to work super hard to save enough to enjoy that stuff. Thus I grew up always feeling guilty about spending money on anything (I would go to the store, put items in the cart, and then take them all back out and only leave with one item!) and I thought my dream of a creative career was frivolous and silly.

  140. Wayne

    I had two:

    1. Money is hard to get because there's not enough. ~Learned from my parents and still with me on a deep level.

    2. Money doesn't solve all your problems, but it gives you higher quality problems. ~Learned from extremely wealthy people who owned racehorses that I cared for. This one is still with me too.

  141. SJ

    Never, ever be late on a payment.

  142. SJ

    You have to save.

  143. Matt

    Don't do what we're doing. Don't be like us. Save for a rainy day. Rich people got that way by being tight with their money. A penny saved is a penny earned. All were messages I heard multiple times growing up.

  144. sj

    Expenses add up, it's not as affordable as you may think.

  145. Ernie

    Money doesn't grow on trees.

    Your Dad makes money to live on, I (Mom) make money so you can have things. My money is the "fun" money.

  146. Joseph Garcia

    When you lend someone money, don't expect anything back. Be pleasantly surprised if they do pay you back but do not hold it over them.

  147. Steve

    "We don't talk about money", and

    "You should build credit. Open a credit card, make a small purchase each month, and pay it off" (from my mom to my 18-year old self), and

    *the occasional rant about not having enough money*

    This was the extent of my financial education. Let's just say I didn't learn a lot the easy way.

  148. Amanda

    "We always have money for education." and "Money doesn't fix problems, but it helps avoid problems."

  149. Melissa GR

    I did some deep work through Barbara Stanny's Overcoming Underearning on this in October last year – I could give you a 26 page answer, literally. One of main messages that came up was "work hard now whilst you’re young, enjoy your life later when you retire."

  150. Julie

    My parents would fight and scream at each other every week when doing the bills. Then, my mom would then come and talk to me saying "We both work hard and make good livings, I don't know where all the money goes?" They sent me to a private school and would say things like "well, your college fund is going to your prep school, so you better get a scholarship or take out loans". Then when I finished college, my mom literally went skipping through the campus shouting "I'm done! No more bills! Grad school is on HER!" (as an aside, I took care of undergrad and grad school through scholarships, loans and working… I never once asked her for money so I'm not sure why she was acting this way)

    My Bubbi (Jewish Grandma) would say things to me like:
    – Always pay yourself first!
    – Keep your eye upon the doughnut and not upon the hole.
    – Be a smart cookie and save your dough!
    – Never charge more on your credit cards than you can pay off in 3-6 months
    – There is good debt and bad debt, but all debt you learn from!
    – You can work for your money and it can work for you.

    My Bubbi's mom, my great grandma used to say:
    – The rich man rides, everyone else walks
    – Its as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is with a poor man
    – when a sick person and a healthy person are together, the healthy person gets sick, the sick person doesn't get healthy
    – Keep your towel clean! When a man dirties his towel no one can tell, but if you dirty your towel everyone will know (ok, not about money but still worth sharing)

  151. Dennis

    Learn the value of a dollar and learn how to use that value to make you more dollars.

  152. HL

    “Do the best you can with what you have” or “everything is a trade-off, so figure out what’s worth it.”

    We didn’t have much, and I know at times things were really precarious when I was little, but my parents somehow managed to make it work and I never really felt deprived. However, I did make choices as I got older (like middle/high school age) about what clothes to wear, sports to play, etc based on whether it would strain my family financially. I knew I wasn’t making “cool” choices but I sucked it up. Luckily, things were more stable by that time, so I didn’t have a disastrous adolescence or anything, but I was always keenly aware of making trade-offs. It was just ingrained in me at an early age that I needed to be wise about spending because money was limited, and it’s always stuck with me even though I now make more by myself than my parents do combined.

  153. Angelica Diaz

    My grandmother always warned me of no getting into debt and my mother always makes me feel that saving money is "depressing."

  154. Pixie


    I was 11 or 12 years old girl, and mum was explaining to me how to keep the house clean. I got an idea of having enough money one day to pay someone to do that for me, and said it out loud.

    Mum got furious as hell, almost beat me – what she heard was that I do not want to work a day in my life, I want everything on the plate and that I am going to end up marrying someone rich just in order not to work. (Interesting thing is that she herself is an engineer, never has been housewife)

    But the time passed, I worked my ass out a year by year and of course, today, of course, I pay for the house to be cleaned. And many more everyday things that I either don't want to do, don't know how to do or there is someone else who does that way too better than me.

  155. Karen Dudek-Brannan

    Mine was less about money and more about how you get it.

    The message was "It's called work for a reason," meaning that your job doesn't have to be fun all the time.

    It was both a good and bad message.

    I got a great model of how to push through when there are things that I may not like doing. With people being so entitled these days, sometimes people do need a kick in the ass. Not everything is fun all the time.

    But I think you can take it too far in the other direction and settle for something that isn't fulfilling, which can be draining.

    The other message was that what I would be making would be a "second income" because I'm a woman.

    The message was more like, "Oh, it's okay if you're in a field that doesn't get paid well, because you'll just have a man to look after you and you'll just be home having babies eventually." I'm a therapist in the public schools, and lots of women in my family work in the public school systems. That's an "acceptable" job for a woman according the the message I got from multiple sources.

    But it was a different message for my brother, who is a teacher. It was "You have to be a provider, so you have to pursue something that will pay well even if you don't like it." It was totally fine for a women be a teacher, but my brother got a hard time about it because it wasn't deemed a "man's job". Luckily for him he did it anyways.

  156. JR

    The constant script I heard growing up was “we can’t afford it” and examples of this were apparent everywhere in our lives from our homemade clothes, to unfinished house and junk vehicles (that I would get teased at school about). I learned at a very young age to be ashamed of our financial state and stopped asking for what I wanted, but I never stopped dreaming. I knew wealth was possible because I could see other people living with abundance and nice things.

    At age 6 I started a lemonade and sandwiches business with my older sister, selling to the senior’s activity centre. At age 10, we expanded into mowing lawns and cleaning homes for the seniors that used to buy our lemonade. At age 11 I enrolled in a babysitters training program, by 13 I had my first “real paycheque job” waitressing, and at 17 I learned negotiation and sales with a door to door selling job. Seeing my parents’ struggle taught me to embrace hard work and creativity, and to go get it for myself. I was able to buy my first car at 16, travel internationally at 17, and purchase my first home by age 20.

    My parents focus on the lack thereof was the most unfortunate limiting belief. When I think of what a rich life means to me now – having land, spending quality time with family, eating healthy organic food from your own garden – these were all things we were blessed with growing up! But it was taken for granted when the focus was on the things “we couldn’t afford”.

  157. Carlos

    "Save money,you dont know what is going happen tomorrow".
    "Don't risk what you can't afford to lose".

  158. Lisa

    Mind your business.
    There's never enough.
    We can't afford it.
    You have to wait.
    Unspoken but quite loud: expect to be in debt forever. Being in debt is the norm. H
    If you're the woman of the house, expect to never get what you want, because there won't be any money for it.
    Dad's needs come first, children 2nd, Mom last if at all, and Dad should always have $200 in his pocket, Mom has to scrounge for change
    Savings is used for emergencies & there's only enough in the bank for 1 emergency at any given time.
    Why aren't we eating meat & potatoes????? $200 a week for groceries! Are you kidding! Where are you spending the money! (never mind that he never goes shopping and learns what the prices are for basic groceries).
    Dad must have a car at his beck and call. The rest of the family can use public transportation.

    • Jerry

      Mine was somewhat similar-
      – You'll always have a car payment
      – You'll always have a house payment
      – When you die, the debt goes away so don't worry

  159. Danielle Mayber

    "We don't have money now, but we'll have it soon." (It's always just around the corner, never ready to be fully enjoyed.)

  160. Snorre K

    Don’t spend a dollar to save a dime

    You can always make more

  161. Zach Shelin

    You can’t buy anything at the grocery store unless it’s on sale.

  162. Matt

    When I was little, whenever my dad would use his credit card, he would say "Don't use these things (credit cards) if you don't have the money to pay for it."

  163. Dan Beasley

    Money is only a problem if you don't have it.

  164. nicole

    You must work REALLY HARD for SOMEONE ELSE to EARN whatever THEY think you are worth.

    Very victim-stance. Not all that true. But shifting it is a big job!

  165. Gregg

    It's a tie between "Money doesn't grow on trees" and "we're not made of money".

  166. Bob

    At the age of 7 when I heard my friends were getting an allowance for doing their chores I made the pitch to my Dad. He noted to me that he was aware that is how some families do it but unfortunately that we don't have enough money to do that and instead we do our chores out of the goodness of our hearts. And, that if you want some money Bob, you will have to go out and earn it. He was in business for himself and would hire me for odd jobs when the opportunity rose.

    The value of money in our house was defined by taking action, as we went on poor people's vacations, camping, backpacking and hunting (at least back then those were the poor peoples vacations.) The interesting thing was, unlike everyone else on the street we were packing up and going into the forest every other week! We were always packing up and going some place and as I look back I had the time of my life and from that learned the true value of money is what you do with it regardless of how much you have or in our case, don't have. I missed so much school I was always in trouble and my Mom and Dad were always writing notes to the school.

    As the years went buy I started a newspaper route and started my first business at 12, that failed. Fast forward 50 years I now have a thriving business and employ a bunch of my kids doing on-line work so they can be stay at home moms for our six grand kids. The goal right now is to sell what I know on-line so I can pull back on face to face clients so I can go camping, backpacking and hunting.

  167. Michael

    "Save your nickles"
    – Dad whenever I asked him for something

  168. Heather

    “Don’t buy something just for the sake of buying something (i.e just so you don’t have to walk out of the store empty handed)”

  169. Francisco Iturbe

    "You can't have both: make good money and work a fulfilling job."

  170. Isa

    If you want to learn about saving – take a look at rich people

  171. Mike

    It's a cash flow problem.

  172. Mack

    "We don’t talk about money in this house" and "money doesn't grow on trees!"

  173. Kellie

    "Credit cards are from the devil"

  174. Mike Nelson

    Money doesn't grow on trees.

  175. Garry

    The problem for me was that there were no money messages smh

  176. Amanda

    My dad didn’t want my brother and I to know the financial state of our household because it was always in flux. My mom, on the other hand, was a banker, so she knew we would benefit from learning how to manage money. The lessons general came like this, “Don’t tell your father I’m sharing this with you, but…”

    Money was a secret. It was scary. It created lots of fights “that you kids just wouldn’t understand.”

    We were well aware that dad would leave the house before anyone else was up and come home just in time for supper. We were aware that if something were ever to break, it was going to be a rough night.

    Though he never wanted us to know the state of the family’s financial situation, it was always apparent. Someday I’ll share that with him.

  177. Kathi Carey

    Two things: my mother grew up in the Depression and it scarred her for life. So, we were taught to squeeze a dollar out of every dime — or NEVER pay retail for anything. And pay off your credit cards in full at the end of the month — never carry a balance or pay interest because you're just paying extra for whatever it was you bought on credit. The only thing worth paying interest on was a house.

  178. William

    Three things:
    1. Don’t buy anything with a credit card that you can’t pay off at the end of the month.
    2. Do not depend on anyone but yourself for your retirement. It is up to you to manage your money.
    3. Invest as much as you can.

  179. Malaika

    My parents argued a lot about money. As a kid you conclude that money equals conflict.

  180. Kailene

    My Dad would always say: How do you want me to pay for it? With my good looks?

  181. Tim

    "We can afford to buy anything you want; you just can't want everything"

    and my dad's cash-flow philosophy that I still use today, "CASH-IN (fast); Cccaaaaaaasssssssshhhhhhhhhh-ooooooouuuuuttttttt"

    • Trebecca

      I love your first one!

  182. Randy Martin

    Money doesn't grow on trees!

  183. Diego Gonzalez

    My parents always told us “Do what you love and money will follow” which has definitely shaped decisions I make about what to pursue. I’ve refined my decision making since but at a high level, if I’m not excited about a potential new job or opportunity, I pass on it. I’ve probably missed out on some lucrative opportunities but I’d rather be happy and content then rich and miserable (but then again that’s another assumption I’m making about money)

  184. Ashley

    I can still see my mom and I sitting on the couch talking after everyone had gone to bed. She was stressing about money, and then in the middle of the conversation she would stop herself and say "it will all work itself out, it's not worth stressing over". At the time I thought it was great advice. Now I see it as taking your hands off the steering wheel in the middle of a snow storm and thinking the car will safely get you where you need to go. Being proactive and reactive with your money are two very different things.

  185. KC

    My parents didn't talk about money. I had no idea when payday was. In contrast to my friends who were always promised toys or new clothes on payday and would announce what day they were going to be getting something new. We weren't poor or wealthy. My dad did say things like, "Money is the root of evil" or "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." So they were actually aiming to not make too much because it leads to a corrupt lifestyle. The goal was to make just enough to cover your basics plus some fun stuff and any more than that was greedy and wrong.

  186. Lisa

    Unspoken message:

    “It’s all about cash flow. We just have to get through these tough years. Things are rough now but we’ll be ok in the long run…. (probably…hopefully?). Your private school education is worth the financial sacrifice and the resulting emotional strain.”

    I also learned the unspoken lesson from experience:

    Don’t ask for things like art lessons or other non-essentials. My parents will sacrifice too much trying to give it to me and I will then feel guilty that I am burdening them with extra financial worry. I should be grateful for what I have and for all their sacrifices and not ask for more.

  187. Ashley

    Money doesn't grow on trees!
    We don't have enough money for that.

  188. jake

    My dad always used to say "I vote with my dollar". It instilled this idea that with money comes the ability to extend your reach, that everyone with a dollar to send has the right to push the market in a particular direction.

  189. Lo

    "Money doesn't grow on trees."
    "You have to work hard to have money."
    "Easy money is dishonest."
    "You have to go to college/university to earn good money."
    "It's hard to become rich" (coming from lower middle class)

  190. Adriane

    Unspoken: "Don't ask about money, don't talk about money"

    "Don't spend too much" (while parent proceeded to spend too much and put it on the credit card: for waaaay to long I didn't know you had to pay that BACK!)

  191. Prasun

    Heard this from a bunch of folks when I was growing up – 'There is no honest way to make a lot of money'

  192. Davey

    You can't get a good job if you don't get a college degree

  193. Will

    My parents: "If you spend money on that toy today, it will take longer to get what you really want". They would almost guilt me into delayed gratification. The result? I started saving for my first car before I turned ten and began to picture things in terms of opportunity cost. This set of Legos equates to an extra month before I can get my car…

  194. Marley

    My grandma was big about correcting people who said "money is the root of all evil" to "THE LOVE OF money is the root of all evil". It was interesting to see someone so poverty stricken be so adamant on the fact that money was a tool, rather than the source of corruption itself.

    My mom took a really practical approach, teaching us all about CDs, savings interest, and how to balance a checkbook. She always encouraged saving, but she wanted us to enjoy spending if/when we had money. Her only real caveat was "you can't spend it twice."

    Dad (still!) always tells us to invest in gold. And guns/ammo/etc. He's…not the best financial adviser, but we love him!

  195. Garima Kushwaha

    Money don't grow on trees!

  196. Richard Moroney

    My parents were great on this. One I haven't seen in a quick scan of the comments is "don't work for money, make your money work for you".

  197. GENE

    My parents always said-Don't tell your bank business/your bank account number/your Social Security number to ANYONE! But every job application now wants your Social Security number, so how does one get around that?

  198. Marianne

    It's easier to marry a million than to make one.

  199. Katy

    There are two I really remember. When my mother would take me shopping and I'd be trying to be frugal with my hard-earned piano teacher money, and she would tell me, "Sometimes it's worth spending more to have something quality. Especially if it's something you lose a lot or want to keep forever."

    My father once told me, "I would rather give you an education than an inheritance…or a wedding." My response? "Deal."

  200. Emily Fuld

    Money just makes you more of who you are. If you're a bastard, you'll be more of one. Bleeding heart, more of one.

    Money is power and power ruins people

  201. Pub

    I got the two extremes:

    Mum: extremely tight-fisted, stingy, frugal-doesn't-even-begin-to-describe-it attitude to money. She hoarded her money, and even tried to control my dad's. It was as if she experienced physical pain every time she had to spend money. She lived well below her income and didn't do anything remotely fun.

    My dad: extremely generous and laid-back about money. He earned well, and provided more than enough for the family, and he even helped several other people in our extended family and his friends and staff. However, whatever he gave to my mum to look after us was administered so harshly that we hardly ever saw the money. Whenever he bought us things himself, or gave us treats, or gave us money, my mum would grumble that he was spoiling us.

    Guess which parent was our favourite when we were kids?
    Guess which parent is having fun and enjoying their life in their mid-60s?
    Guess which parent we are happy to visit and hang around more often?

  202. Michaeljohn

    I've had a lot and a little. Life's way easier if you have a lot.

  203. Nancy Gordon

    The constant message in my house growing up was that 'we can't afford it'… it being anything, but then our parents would still spend money on things. It doesn't lead to empowering spending or saving as an adult after hearing that your entire life… a tough one to break free from.

  204. Kathy

    Wow – so many scripts growing up:

    Money doesn't grow on trees
    There are no honest millionaires
    Debt is scary
    Scrimp to get by
    It's as easy to love a rich man as a poor man
    People like us don't have _______
    They (the rich folk on the avenue) may look happy, but appearances aren't everything
    Maybe i'll win the lottery…

  205. Henry

    An honest day's work, for an honest day's pay.

  206. Jeck

    "Money doesn't grow on trees" | "Always save 10% of each paycheque"

  207. Christina

    "I deserve it, so I'm getting it!" or "I work hard, so I deserve it!"

  208. D

    The rich only get to use tax loopholes.
    Middle class are screwed either way you look at it….we work for the rich for peanuts…..and our tax dollars go to the poor.
    Better to die and your last check bounce!
    The system is rigged against the middle class.

  209. Kent

    We had a refrigerator magnet that said "Money Talks. All mine ever says is 'goodbye'".

  210. Marisol

    My dad always said when I asked him for an allowance when I was a kid (everyone else had one) “Why do you need an allowance for? As long as you have me you don’t need your own money”… (Yes, i was spoiled) Do i need to say that didn’t work out well?

  211. Ash

    Have a bunch:
    Start saving and investing early and max out your tax advantaged accounts
    Savings and investments over conspicuous consumption
    Be smart, learn about it. Others won’t do as good a job or care as much: “I fired our accountant because I realized I make fewer mistakes on our taxes than he did”
    You get what you pay for: “The only thing more expensive than a good attorney is a bad one”.
    But also pick what and when to pay for it (he’s lived his life in $20 on sale tennis shoes – would stock up on them when ones he liked went on sale)
    Money’s not going to make you happy, but it’s going to help make things easier and more things attainable (edu, travel, etc)

  212. Katie Gerber

    Never, ever, go into debt.

  213. Monica

    Simply, “We don’t have the money” or “We’ll see”.

  214. Everson K

    – For one person to make money, another person has to lose.

    – Rich people become rich by exploring the poor.

    – Rich people is always guilty. Poor people is always victim.

    – If you were born rich, you will die rich. If you were born poor, you will die poor. All the "rising to success" stories were invented to keep the hope in the system.

    – The desire to have more then "necessary" is selfishness.

    – Profit is dirty. It's made by exploring other people.

    After 38 years I still find myself trying to get rid of some of these thoughts.

  215. Cristina

    "Save for a rainy day" and "Never owe money"

  216. Paul Davies

    I'm British, so we didn't talk about money. Not in an awkward still-actually-attached-to-it way, but in the same way we didn't talk about holidaying on the moon; there were just more important and practical things to talk about. And we also didn't talk a great deal about anything 🙂

  217. Wenda

    My dad always said, "This is my money. I earned it. Think of how much more I've have IF I didn't have to take care of you and your brother. Go out and make your own." So I did from the time I was 12 years old.

  218. Terri

    My dad's side of the family lived in the moment. The Hungarian saying "If we could afford to live how we live, ahhh, how we would live!" comes to mind. We had many great experiences, met fabulous people, and traveled but there was no money in the bank and bill collectors calling. It was a very unusual lifestyle for our small, rural town but I wouldn't trade a second of it. Now I try to find a balance between that mindset and having savings for retirement and emergencies.

  219. infmom

    My parents bought whatever they felt they were entitled to, or whatever "everyone who is anyone" had. Especially my mother. I don't think my parents saved up for anything in their lives.

    I learned a lot by seeing what my parents did and vowing to do the opposite. My husband and I are not rich, but we're debt free, something neither of my parents ever achieved.

  220. Heidi Bennett

    I grew up feeling poor. We weren't actually poor, but my parents were always stressed out about money, about not having enough, about having too much debt. The unspoken lessons I inherited include the feeling that you can never get ahead, no matter how hard you try. But at the same time, if you get a windfall, you should enjoy it rather than put it toward improving your financial security.

  221. Jonathan Tanner

    We can't afford that (like other people can).
    For us it is hard, and other people have it easier than us.
    (Ignoring the fact that we were lucky enough to have a stay at home mum for 16 years.)

    I still find it hard to lose the built in obsession over the price of everything and am frustrated by the false belief that we have very little choice about what sort of position we 'find' ourselves in.

  222. Malia

    • "It's all about greed." – my dad

    By the time inwas 4 years old, understood politics. My dad was amazed, but talked to me like an adult about it. I remember watching presidential debates and asking, "Why are they doing "this" to take care of "that", when they could just do "that", and take care of "this", "this", and "this" all at once? My dad ended up giving me a 2 hour lecture that boiled down to, "It's all about greed because they're corrupt. They have too much power."

    In later years, he seemed to almost contradict himself though, saying, "Money is a tool. It's the people who use it that are good or bad." At least that was his mantra for a while when he went through the phase of watching Merlin with Sam Neill in it. Now that he's getting to be an old man, he switches between the two sayings depending on if he's talking about rich or poor people.

    • "Time is money." – My boss

    I can't tell you how many times I've heard this on days where customers came in and wasted our time. (Especially if we'd worked with them before.) Or on days when the machinery went screwy or broke down.

    • "I wish I didn't have to pay so much." – my brother

    In short, vindictive exes and child support can be a bitch.

    • "Guess how big a raise I got… A whopping $0.57. If they want employees to stay and do a good job, they need to pay more." – my mom

    My mom has been stuck at the same company for over 12 years and they treat their employees without respect. There's too many chiefs and not enough Indians, as she says. The employees have their hands tied in red tape when it comes to problems and the managers are usually nowhere to be found.

  223. Nell

    I got a version of we don’t talk about money because there is never enough. Too late I discovered there “wasn’t enough” because my father put 1/3 of all into retirement. Good for him, but I never learned to save, or put $ into retirement for myself, wish he had shared his wisdom more freely.

  224. David

    Save 10% of everything you make.

  225. Radek

    Growing up in the post communist country. "Everyone who has money is a crook and nothing more than lucky a****e."

  226. Eugeniu Prodan

    Money is the root of all evil.

  227. Jacqui

    Money doesn’t grow on trees!

  228. David

    "We can't afford it." :-\

  229. Carolyn

    Growing up it was "We can always find a way." – In other words: family will make sure you can do the school activities you want or go to the college you want even if we all have to eat beans to get there.

    When I got my first job my dad said "Pay yourself first. I didn't and now I'm broke." He spent his money on "toys" and now has nothing for retirement. I'm thankful that I've listened but I'm still scared I'll never have enough.

  230. Adrianne Gillick

    if you can't stop thinking about it, then we can come back and buy it.

  231. Emad Alvi

    Save your money because I said so.
    Wish I listened, the desire to say fuck you to my parents overpowered that though

  232. PG

    Rich people are bad people, they lie/cheat/steal to get where they are. There's a finite amount of wealth, we don't have enough, and we will never will.

  233. Daniela

    "Money comes and money goes"
    "When you die, you won't take anything with you"

    About hard work:
    "There is a strong correlation between those that work and are successful"

  234. Clive

    "Save your money. Because one day you're going to need it."

    "Does it look like I'm made of money??!!"

  235. Joey

    "You can be rich, or you can be happy, but you can't be both. If you are, you're a liar."

    I actually heard that quote from an adult in high school. And it's stuck. What kind of dismissive asshole tells this to a high school kid. Fortunately I know it is bullshit now, but as an impressionable kid, it weighed on my mind longer than it should have.

  236. Fatima

    My Dad used to say "do you think I pluck money from the tree? Manage what you have"

  237. CS

    “We’re just hard working middle class people”
    (Translated to living in a 26 room, 6 bathroom house, flying to Disney rather than driving before deregulation but eating cheese ends, the squashed discounted box of cereal and wearing Sears brand instead of Guess or Jordache jeans)
    When store clerk tells my mom (an anesthesiologist) “that’s a beautiful scarf and it’s only $350!” My mom (resplendent in her thrift store “finds”) looks at her and says dryly, “that’s probably more than you make in a week.”
    They believed in splurge on what matters but save on the rest.
    So yeah, if I want organic food, I grow it myself. Or I buy whatever veg is in season, cheap or on sale. But it’s worth the $$ for me to go to Bali, Hawaii (4x) and Moorea the past 3 winters (though in coach.).

  238. Ambrose

    Always learn to save money

  239. Katie

    My parents were all about being frugal for many things but investing in others things that were "more important". For example, we did a lot of our clothes shopping at thrift shops but grocery shopping at expensive small local health food stores. We lived in a very nice town, but in a small house. Growing up, I never had the trendy toys or clothes that my friends had. Thinking about it now, as a 30-something year old, I actually live pretty similarly. But now we are called hipsters. ha.

    • Annabel

      I want to give this 100 likes.

  240. Noriko

    “If you put energy into what you love, money will follow “

  241. Misti Dawnn

    “We have a great income. But we also have great outgo.”

    “I’d have more money if you kids weren’t such a burden.”

  242. Lucas

    I am told that a job is the only way to make money haha
    Even if I talk with my parents about my desires to start a business they keep telling me to "think about my future job" or some things like that…

  243. Les

    "Those rich people."
    "Those snooty people."
    "Look at your sister trying to buy nice stuff, she thinks she's a queen."

  244. Victor

    Don't carry credit card debt. My Parents owned a clothing store that we grww up working at, and we saw the girls get their credit cards and repeatedly buy more than they could afford. My Dad would point out that now they are not working for fun, but to pay off their debt. Also went over how now the things they bought on sale were no longer the sale price. Saw it enough to know not to carry a balance on the credit card.

  245. Annabel

    Here's one I haven't seen anyone mention yet…

    My parents taught me to treat my physical cash with respect. "Facing" your money (turning it so all the bills face the same way). Keeping money in a wallet or neatly folded instead of wadded up in your pocket. Putting the largest bills on the inside of a folded stack, with the small bills on the outside. Stuff like that.

  246. AL

    "Money is the root of all evil"

    My Dad tried to run a business ( and make money I think ) by saying mean things about people who had money. Not only did his business never take off, we ended up with no money.

    I married into a family where my husband and me watched with utter annoyance as his folks sold a prime piece of property in the heart of a city for much less than market value. The reason? They were uncomfortable they were asking for the market price as it made them seem greedy. They actually said things like "It is not worth much". "Oh, it floods here every year". The guy who bought it was smart as a whip. He bought it off them for Rs. 17500000 and sold it for Rs. 50000000. ( which btw is the actual market value ).

  247. susan

    Turn off the lights. Do you think we have shares in the electric company?

  248. Juan

    Hi Ramit.

    In my country there is a saying that is: "dios proverá" that literally translates god will provide or god will give. It is used in contexts where yo need money to buy something or to pay for something you didn't expect and not to be worried about it, because it's supposed that money will come magically and you will somehow find it

  249. Joshua Domingo

    I was always told:

    "We don't have enough money, so just save everything"

    I mean, the phrase worked out in middle and high school, but spending wisely was not really taught to me.

  250. Kadee

    I grew up with "We don't have enough money for [insert here]."

  251. Anon

    Money = Love.

    If you love someone, you spend money on them, or let them borrow money, unconditionally.

    Fucked up, right?

  252. Sumit M

    Dad – Money is not loyal to anyone and never chase it.

    Mom – Don’t waste money as it gives us security in life

  253. Dilip

    Save for a rainy day

  254. Isaac

    Don't play with stocks!

  255. Abhishek

    I had three in my house:

    “Rich people stepped on someone to get where they are”
    “We always have money for education”
    “Money comes, money goes”

  256. Edward Danilyuk

    "Money doesnt buy happiness. Look at all the super rich people – they are unhappy."

  257. Laura

    Having more money will just bring more problems.

  258. Alexandra

    "Money doesn't buy happiness, but lack of money does."
    "Never depend on a man [for financial stability]"
    "A million dollars doesn't go very far."

    Lessons learned: Be independent; not having money will lead to unhappiness, but even if you do have money, you still won't necessarily be happy, but at least you up your chances.

  259. Jinghuan

    Money is not everything, but without money you can't do anything.

  260. Randal

    if you don't have the cash in your pocket to pay for it, you don't buy it.

  261. Donald mashemo

    Money can answers all.but it can grow wings and fly away.

  262. Florence nkosi

    You think money grows on trees!

  263. Conny

    Money doesn't grow on trees…
    We/You have to work hard for money

  264. Tyler

    Comments from mom:
    "You better save for that $30k watch!" (More like better have a big side hustle)
    "Money isn't important, family is"
    "I could never be one of "Those" people"
    "Should be lucky you have a job! People live on $2 a day in some places"

    "You can do anything you want and I can see you'll be hugely successful in whatever you decide to do" (While he sits on the couch every day and watch youtube for hours)

  265. Rohan Bhardwaj

    Money doesn't grow on trees.

  266. Barbara

    "Waste not, want not." My parents were hard workers and careful with money. They never called a plumber or electrician but would find a friend to help if something broke and they in turn would help their friends and neighbors.

  267. efe

    Life is too short, just manage anything that come your way.
    Don't stay idle exchange your time with people that need your service.
    No body will bail you out of your financial problems.
    My dad always nags with those words.
    Nothing is free even my house.

  268. Maria

    "The only way to make your first million is to steal it". Mostly as an explanation why we're not millionaires.

  269. Donna

    ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’
    was what I heard which has given me a huge money block oh and
    ‘Do you think I’m made of money?’

  270. Jeremy

    "We can't afford it."

    The context was my self-employed father as primary breadwinner in a period of high inflation (averaging over 15% every year from 1974-1981, peaking at 24% in 1975) and spiralling mortgage interest rates (bank base rates went over 15%).

    These days as a self-employed primary breadwinner parent I can understand how that must have permeated family life.

    I also see how it has impacted my own orientation to money ever since: "avoid debt", "live within your means", "moderate your consumption", "take care when buying something in case it turns out to be rubbish and you've wasted your money", "it's always worth the time (however much time) to shop around for a better price". These last two have big consequences for me in time spent making fairly mundane decisions (eg which webhosting company to use, whether to buy incandescent or LED light bulbs, etc).

  271. CHloe

    Well, I hear it all the time, growin up or not: that somehow those who have something stole it from us. I feel nauseous when I hear it. BEcause these people always preach the evils of money and how it is virtuous to not need it, but they are also the quickest to grovel and kiss ass for it.

  272. Taryn

    Money doesn't grow on trees.

  273. Ellie

    You have to work really REALLY hard for your money.

    The busier you are, the more you'll earn.

    Money comes and goes so spend it while you have it, and don't think about it when you don't have it.

  274. Yuri

    "We are a 4 people boat, people may come and go but this boat is ours to row together forever because no one will do it for us. Even a little thing you can do as children to save or be nice to us parents will help the whole family so the 4 of us will make it to where we are headed" And boy did we make it… Right now our family is a 9 people boat still rowing together but quite far from where we started back then.

  275. Mike

    You'll never have enough money to hire a cleaning lady.

  276. Jo

    Money doesn't grow on trees (which it in fact does)
    You always have to work for your money
    pay day to pay day
    There's never enough

  277. John Kigbu

    Way back as a kid in Nigeria and still in practice,the parlance is'money and snake are meant to be killed'.

  278. Rosie

    "Ugh, finance and money management are boring."

  279. Vanessa

    – the importance of having a steady job
    – When money goes out the door love goes out the window
    – there is always money for education

  280. Louise

    Dad: “We always have money for education”
    Aunt: "We don't have enough money for that"

    But overall I wasn't encouraged to pay attention to money. My aunt didn't even let me have access to my savings account.

  281. Kady

    growing up it was always work hard/save harder. the money message shared with me changed when my dad passed away from cancer to: money can't buy happiness and living in the here/now

  282. Angela

    I had zero financial education in my family! How to save, invest, get a loan, balance a checkbook…. it was "private" and "something people don't talk about". I don't think they knew.
    I have no idea how much they made. I was always was told "we can't afford it", yet they constantly bought nice stuff and I never wanted for anything. My dad worked ridiculously hard and my mom had a good job. They DID teach me good work ethic! Turns out we were in serious debt that played a big part in the demise of the relationship.

    "Money is the root of all Evil" was the mantra that stayed with me.

  283. Merit

    No loans except for a house.
    Always money for books – my mother always bought me any book I asked for.

  284. Andreea

    My mother said: "We are honest and poor. We will never do scams to get rich."
    So, getting rich is still a psychological problem to me (at 37). Actually, I just can't get out of my scarcity model and even earn decently, even if I am smart and good enough.

  285. Anna

    The indirect money message was that you take out loans on as much as the bank would let you for a new car or an extension on the house, but you never take on credit card debt.

  286. Alexey

    Growing up the topic of money was very sensitive an emotional and most decisions no matter how small seemed to be based on cost. My emotions associated with money were the fear of not having money to survive and the frustration of not knowing how to make money. Money was this scarce resource that people either had or didn't have.

  287. SOL

    Some combination of:
    – always pay bills on time (never pay interest on a credIt card), which extends to…
    – pay as much down on a house as possible

    – don’t work when you could be studying
    – don’t worry about money
    – don’t ask how much we make

    Plus implicit messages:
    – don’t pay for something you can do yourself, even if it takes forever and you do it poorly (from my dad)
    – pay for something someone else will do better unless your partner puts pressure on you not to, then complain but don’t actually do anything he doesn’t want you to do (from my mom)

    Which all amounted to: we won’t tell you how it works and we won’t encourage you to be in a position where you can figure it out for yourself either. In adulthood I realized that it’s at least partially related to them not really *knowing* how best to manage money – they may technically have enough for themselves but they don’t do a good job with it. I don’t think it comes from a bad place.

  288. Melanie

    "We don't have the money for [whatever]."

  289. Lisa

    The universe knows when you have extra money and laughs.

  290. Zac

    “You don’t need that” for anything that wasn’t practical like clothes. People who spent money on “looking fancy” were looked down upon as not smart. Our vacations were always camping because “why pay for a hotel when camping is only $10 a night?” But the last day of the trip we were allowed to get a hotel to “wash off the dirt from camping”. Eating out wasn’t eating out but ordering Pizza Hut or picking up Dairy Queen on a Friday night as a treat. Yet somehow I was always allowed to spend on computers because they were practical and my mom wanted me to become an engineer, which I am now. My dad would always spend money on a nice truck because he needed “something reliable to get to work”. Anything we could argue as practical we had money for, anything else was discouraged.

  291. Beth

    The two biggest in my house growing up were:

    We always have money for education (that one in your email resonated with me a lot)

    Don't flash around money/talk about it publicly no matter how much or how little you have

  292. Neal

    " Help pay for what you want and you will appreciate it more"
    " When you buy something, ask yourself if it is a need or a want

  293. KM

    "We can't afford it, we don't have the money."
    "If you want that, go get a job to pay for it."
    "We don't ask other people for money."

  294. Matt

    In my grandfather's last year (83 yrs) , I had to help hoist him up to standing because he squatted down to pick up a dime and couldn't get back up. He also wondered why we were mad at him for the attempt.

  295. Janice

    Always get things on sale!
    Was it a good deal?
    The best type of investment is buying a home.
    You won't ever be able to buy a home without my help nowadays [from parents]
    We would always help you out with money whenever we can [from parents].
    We covered everything for us [parents – in reference to grave, insurance, retirement], so don't need to worry.
    We have an insurance policy in case anything happens. Remember that.
    Your best form of earning potential is getting a good husband.

    • janice

      *correction to above*
      "We covered everything for us [parents – in reference to THEIR* grave, insurance, retirement], so don't need to worry us*" [my parents – passing my responsibility or need to take care all expenses for them].

      I think from their teaching made me a little too comfortable but at the same time I'm still very cautious with my money and make sure I invest it well and still contribute give them money every money even though I know they don't rely on it.

  296. Mark

    Whenever I asked for anything that cost more than a few dollars, I would hear, "Do you know how many hours I have to type to pay for that???" My mom was a secretary and my dad worked in the mail room at the local newspaper company so things were pretty lean.

    That response was meant to guilt me into not asking for things, but it actually made me think about the time-value of money and how much that shiny new thing is really worth to me. I'm 42 and I still frame big purchases that way in my mind.

  297. Laura Cariaga

    Money doesn't grow on trees.

  298. Lisa

    Always pay yourself first, in reference to saving.

  299. Jamie Bodnarchuk

    Grew up in a farming family (my grandparents) and money was tight. There was no credit, no help, no safety net. It was "hey I need new shoes" and the reply was "ok, which chicken do you want to sell(kill) for those shoes?" or oh the machine broke down..ok which cow gets killed to pay for it?
    as a teenager after moving to the city, parents started earning a lot more money and we could afford to live comfortably. i learned the power of negotiating i.e. i like my money better in my pocket than someone else's pocket, and how to walk away. I also learned how financial literacy was essential in protecting myself financially from the bottomless pit of people trying to separate me from my money.
    now that I finally make 6 figures, I thought I would be very liberal with my spending but i'm actually cheaper than ever because i still feel money is scarce and my income could disappear at any time. I try to only use money as a tool to accomplish a goal rather than spend it carelessly. my grandparents would roll over in their graves if they knew what I made and knew what I spent, even if I negotiated a good deal.

  300. jd

    You don't need money for the young age, you need money for the old age.

  301. DJ

    Be the fucker, not the fuckee

  302. Sanjot

    Making lot of money is hard work (the term hard work kinda implies that you won't be able to make money )

  303. Terhi

    "Money isn't everything, but having some makes life a lot easier. " I think I can still agree with that.

  304. Dian

    The overt messages were my parents saying things like "Money makes the world go around." and "You can love a rich man just like a poor man". It was very much how money made things better and how having money was a sign of a better person or being blessed by God.

    The messages I picked up was more how the *appearance* of money covered a multitude of sins but doesn't prove any actual value. I heard my parents arguing about massive debts, saw and on occasions dealt with things like the electric company wanting to turn the electrics off because my father hadn't paid. We moved a lot in my childhood, always to braggable neighbourhoods because he wanted to appearence of doing well when things going on in the house were awful.

    I think the former still gets to me as I hate discussing any issues with money with anyone other than my spouse and the latter sometimes acts as a barrier to things as I have to move past my first trained reaction that certain things feel fake/too much style over substance at first glance when it reminds me of things I saw as a kid.

  305. Lauren P

    My parents would always tell me not to worry about money. "Worry about getting your grades – and we will worry about the rest." But, they also told me that they wanted me to do better than they did. Not sure how I was supposed to do better than they did if I didn't know how they were doing. As I got older, I started putting the pieces together. Overall, I am doing better than they are, but there were hard money lessons I had to learn on my own. I now have kids, and we involve them in the money making decisions sometimes. We are pretty transparent, and make sure they can earn money to do anything that is extra. We are also educating them on saving, credit, and interest.

  306. Cecily

    "That money is burning a hole in your pocket," a phrase used to shame kids about wanting to spend our allowance, birthday money, etc.

  307. Patrick

    My mom would always tell me what her mother told her regarding money: "You can't take it with you."

  308. Julie

    From my mom – that it’s not polite to talk about money. To search out the cheapest option. To reuse everything you can (I’m talking about twist ties from food packaging and everything) rather than have to buy anything. And the 11th commandment was thou shall not waste food. Her parents lived through the Great Depression, so that made sense in a way.

    My dad is much freer with money, and I remember him saying “it’s only money” so many times. I take after him. But he doesn’t have a lot of ‘respect’ for money, so he doesn’t save, he isn’t mindful of his spending and he wastes a lot of money. He earns well, so he can afford to do that…but that doesn’t mean I should emulate him.

  309. George

    A credit card is a convenience, treat it as a substitute for cash. Only spend money you actually have.

  310. sol

    My parents always said

    "work to get money and settle down and when you have enough only then think of giving us." This was encouraging but then alongside it was the most often quoted scriptural verse about money.
    "Money is the root of all evil." So on the one hand you are encouraged to work hard to get money and on the other hans you are made to rhink that money is evil…

  311. Melody Rieker

    My mother never spoke of money one way or another. I just remember never having any.

  312. Rocco Malgiero

    We learned early on not to talk about money and were often told we could not afford the things we asked for. We were on the poor end of the scale and my dad was self-employed–a hard worker, but an unskilled businessman. My mom started an in-home childcare business to keep us above the poverty level and to now and then provide us with the extras in life. Though we were loved and cared for (we never went hungry or without clothes), we truly could not afford a lot of the activities and things that our peers enjoyed.

    My father drummed such aphorisms as "I'm not made of money" and "Money doesn't grow on trees." Only, I realized that money could "grow on trees"–my father simply wasn't planting the right ones; I grasped that he was "made of money"–he simply wasn't allocating his resources properly. I vowed to do the opposite when I grew up.

    However, when I did grow up, I fell into the rut of the passive employee at the low-skilled job and forgot about planting the right trees. It has taken me almost 25 more years to bring them back into focus and to reevaluate how I use my skills and resources. It's a bit later in life than I had hoped, but I'm ready to shed my father's invisible scripts about money and take control of my earnings.

  313. Teddy Atuluku

    Paraphrasing from my mummy.

    If you keep making concessions, cutting back each time money is short, you get used to it. it gets easier and easier to cut back and before you know it, you're dirt poor and living under a bridge doesn't seem so bad.

  314. Francesca

    "Rich people stepped on someone to get where they are", "This is not necessary", "Save fo bad times", "Money is bad", "Ask for money is bad, they have to recognize your value, just work hard".

    I really would like to know how to valuate and communicate better myself.
    Cheers from Italy!

  315. Brandye

    There's never enough. All messages were fear-based around money.

  316. lisa

    Here are MY messages that I tell others:

    1) Your health is your wealth (it allows you to work and earn)
    2) NEVER let anyone borrow from you any amount of money that you're not willing to lose (basically, you won't care about not getting paid back as you only gave out what you were comfortable losing)

    My family didn't have messages. If anything, I was usually accused of stealing it. After a particularly heated battle, there was a lull in the arguing. My father piped up that HE took the money from mom's "hiding spot." Yup.

  317. Alex McKee

    My mom didn't set a budget for our one yearly family vacation. For one week of the year she didn't want to worry about price for anything, including meals, entertainment, drinks, etc. I grew up thinking she deserved it because of how hard she worked all year, 12 hour days, 5 days a week, for several years!

    As I got older, I eventually realized that she wasn't "saving" all year for these vacations, in-fact I would hear her say things like, "I really don't have much saved for retirement", and "Instead of saving, I chose to have fun". All these years she was putting our vacations on credit cards, and then paying them off with the next year's tax return!

    It took me until I was 30 years old to realize I had been raised to 1) Ignore what things cost, 2) Not budget, 3) Put things on credit cards and pay them off with tax returns, ALL YEAR!

    Thankfully I picked up Ramit's book, changed how I look at money, and now I'm on-track to a more rich life

  318. RL

    Words vs. attitudes
    I was told to tithe (and that was enforced and observed) and save (not enforced), but we got money for birthday and Christmas (from grandparents not, key point) and that was pretty much it. Work was emphasized; my parents weren't afraid to talk about spending but didn't want us to have any (which rather inhibits learning). So, I couldn't see the whole picture.

    The attitude in our house was NO luxuries (I didn't know that designer items existed until an adult); I was SHOCKED when I found out my dad's income (massive, but with 6 kids that made us middle class most of the time, I think) because I always received the impression that my parents were watching their money (we shopped at Walmart, Target, etc. for clothes, we wore hand me downs, only bought small amounts). But my mom, especially, thought everything had to have a purpose, she didn't like excess (in fact, I was once forbidden to MAKE more toys with materials we had on hand). Granted this was during my (I'm the oldest) childhood, the youngest three have rather different parents on a lot of scores (you are welcome!).

    My parents didn't come from money, and I think background plus personal attitude/personality made them frugal (and I don't think my mom ever understood how well off we were, or perhaps, it was part of the seemingly innate fear that runs in our family). That didn't work well for me because my attitude/personality tended not only to excess but rebellion, and I don't think my parents understood that while they aggravated me by demeaning spending and overemphasizing work over pleasure, they spoiled me with security. So, I guess I got mixed messaging.

  319. FBHD

    1) There is never enough money and we will always be poor. Everyone in our family has always been poor. We have been cursed
    2) Don't buy anything for yourself and only buy necessities (for us kids it was food and clothing, some toys at Christmas. No vacations, no visitors at home except grandparents, no clubs at school)