Money Questions: What Was Our Relationship With Money?


Daily Origami is a way for us to record our off the cuff thoughts, feelings and observations about the world around us. Published every weekday, Monday through Friday.


Big Money Questions #1:
What was your relationship to money growing up?


JENNIE: 

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Money was always a difficult topic in my household. My parents constantly struggled with money but it was something that was understood - not spoken of. 

If you’d like to know more -- I wrote about my family and money a few months ago: What To Do When Your Family Refuses To Talk About Money.

In my mid-20’s, when I moved out on my own, I understood the pressures of living in an expensive city like Boston. I figured out quickly that if I didn’t financially plan for my monthly expenses, I’d either be living with debt or be on the streets. I got better, but I still wasn’t great. 

My road to financial freedom didn’t really begin until Ivan moved to Boston. We started making aggressive (but manageable) savings and spending goals. Initially, I was resistant to the idea of a tightly managed budget but I came around to it after a year or so.

These days, I think a lot more thoughtfully about the way I spend my dollars and my time. 


IVAN: 

I had no relationship with money growing up.

Two reasons:

  1. I had everything I could ever want

  2. I never wanted many things, so money was irrelevant.

My parents are both public school teachers in Taiwan. Lack of money wasn’t an issue, nor was there plenty of it. My little brother and I never had an allowance. It never occurred to either of us to ask for one.

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All I ever wanted growing up were books, but that's what the public library was for. I had a bike. I had friends. I had a ton of LEGOs, which I’d use to re-enact scenes from the books I read. I was rich. Every now and then, I’d ask my parents for money to buy the new Harry Potter book, or books I wanted to go back to.

All I ever wanted was to be left alone to do the things I liked. Later, when I discovered that as an adult, money was going to get in the way of me doing that...was when I started learning as much as I could about money and personal finance.

Not because I enjoyed it. I just wanted to get it out my way so I wouldn’t have to think about it ever again.