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Mom’s influence on our money handling skills can be good or bad

Connie Prater

I can thank my mother for helping me become the tightwad that I am today. I’m not alone.

As a new poll shows, the family member identified the most for influencing our financial habits and money management prowess is dear ol’ Mom. The poll of 1,004 adults found that more than a quarter (26 percent) chose mom as the chief influencer of their money handling skills. Dad was second with 21 percent.

But as several financial literacy and credit counseling experts pointed out during interviews, parental influence on our money management skills can be both positive and negative.

“What if mom and dad have poor personal finance habits?” asked Gail Cunningham, spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “It is highly likely that those habits are passed along to the children, thus perpetuating the problem.”

She added: “Whether it’s mom or dad who most influences you, now that you’re an adult it’s important to evaluate whether or not that influence was a positive one. Repeating the financial sins of the past will benefit no one.”

Amen to that.

I can tell you that my mother has a bit of compulsive shopper in her, buying things in great quantities that she really (in my opinion) doesn’t need. She has a wallet full of credit cards, but can’t tell you the interest rate on any of them. Sigh.

Growing up with this role model made me more frugal than most people. I don’t like to spend money unnecessarily — even when I have it to spend. So, I need to thank my mother on this Mother’s Day weekend for helping to boost my personal savings rate.

See related: Poll: Mom matters most in shaping our financial habits7 lasting money lessons from mom, Poll: Dad’s a pushover for kids looking for big debt help

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  • Sometimes, it’s the other way around. Just like when your mom had all the credit cards in the world and you know to yourself that you should not be spending like that. 🙂 One good example to not follow. 😀

  • J.B.

    Good posting. We tend to model ourselves from our parents. It is no surprise to me that we do this with our money handling too.