Things My Mother Taught Me: The Money Lessons We’ve Learned
Monika March’s mother
This Mother’s Day, some of our CentSai team took the time to reflect on the lifelong money lessons their moms taught them growing up. From budgeting to splurging, there’s mom-type advice for it all. What kind of money manager was your mom?
Monika March, Manager of Business Development
My mother has worked tirelessly throughout her life. Double shifts as a waitress, dog sitting, catering, etc. — never earning more than minimum wage. Still, she was able to pay off her Chicago condo, never accumulated any debt, and was always generous with family and strangers alike.
She liked filet mignon and buying Louis Vuitton purses and fur coats, and yet she prioritized tipping cab drivers and maintenance people and donating to the homeless.
My mother is one of the most generous people I’ve ever met, and we could all learn from her kind spirit.
Unfortunately, she just suffered a massive stroke, and now my family is in a tough financial and emotional situation trying to navigate her long-term care.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and remember to be grateful for every healthy day you and your mom have!
Charlotte Baker, Project Manager
Although my parents worked very hard, we were poor when I was a child. And I don’t mean poor like we couldn’t get a Starbucks every day. I mean poor as in my brother didn’t have a coat one winter and my mom had two dresses. She alternated wearing them every other Sunday to church. There was never any complaint on her part.
Despite our circumstances, my mom taught me to enjoy finding ways to be frugal and to work hard. We clipped coupons together and thought up ways to do fun activities that didn’t cost anything. I have such fun memories, and not having much money didn’t dampen our joy in life at all. I’m thankful for my mom and how she demonstrated that money does not buy happiness.
Michael Shin, Director of Product Design
My mom taught me that saving from a young age is imperative. The earlier you start, the quicker you’ll get into the habit. If you don’t do it young, you’ll regret it later in life!
Connor Beckett McInerney, Editorial Assistant
My mom taught me the importance of saving, but more importantly, I think she’s taught me the importance of spending. For example, about a month ago, I received my tax refund at my home address and was prepared to put the entirety of it into my savings. My mom was aware I had recently saved quite a bit of cash independent from my tax refund, so she encouraged me to keep in my checking to spend as I see fit.
She knows I can be anxious about my own finances sometimes, so otherwise I’d be inclined to save everything and live an incredibly Spartan lifestyle. Thankfully, the financial wisdom she’s attained has been able to guide me towards “letting my hair down” every once in a while.
PaFoua Hang, Director of Operations
My mom taught me that the most important thing any woman must always have is money of her own making and a safety nest.
Niamh, Business Development Associate
My mother never sat me down and taught me how to budget, save, or invest — she didn’t know these things herself. What I learned from her negligence and her debt taught me that I never wanted to live that way. So it drove me to learn how to manage my personal finances, and I have been on the learning journey ever since. Now I finally feel comfortable enough to share this with others!
Burt Shulman, SVP Institutional Business
My mom passed away in November of 2017 at age 94. One thing she taught me about money: It should never be one’s top consideration in life.
On the other hand, my folks had financial woes and taught me by reverse example to beware of running out too soon! Wish I’d taken that a little more to heart earlier in life, but my kids are off to a great start, and I’m grateful for that. And I dearly loved (and love) my parents.
Kayla Nathaniel, Business Development Intern
The most important money lesson my mother taught me was to make sure to prioritize, invest, and plan for my future.
She always made sure that I knew the difference between spending a little more to get the best quality and saving while still having the best quality. My mother has also been my biggest motivator to invest in myself in every way, especially money.
Her guidance has allowed me to invest in things that will help to secure and sustain a more profitable future. I am more into planning ahead and making the right money moves while I am younger and have fewer priorities. This will ensure that I am financially stable when I do have more things to spend money on.
Evan Sachs, Senior Copy Editor
I’ve learned so much from my mother, a lot of it not related to finance. That said, if there’s one money lesson my mom has taught me, it’s that being frugal when you can (and when it’s smart to do so) is a good thing, but that it’s also okay to splurge sometimes, especially if it means taking care of yourself and making sure that you’re physically and mentally healthy.
Clara Jeong, UX/UI Designer
My mom didn’t teach me the best money habits growing up. She always had a “spend now, worry later” attitude, a #YOLO point of view. While she didn’t directly teach me anything solid, I learned to be better with my money from a “what not to do” standpoint. I still love you, though, Mom!
Jeff Pomeroy, Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships
Fortunately, my mom is still with us and I get to talk to her regularly.
Now that my dad has passed on, she visits for the entire month of August. For me, it’s the best month of the year, as I get unfettered access to one of my heroes. It’s funny how time and experiences as a parent have totally evolved my thoughts regarding my mom.
Being a parent has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding parts of my life. However, when I started out as a parent, I vowed to do everything “differently.” Then the cold reality of life hit me and challenges started coming from all angles. Having kids is easy, but doing the right thing and taking the responsibility of being a parent is a huge commitment.
Being the “cool parent” doesn’t help. Being consistent and supportive in my life has helped me become a man and a better father. Teaching me priorities, being dependable, providing unconditional love, and seeing the sacrifices my mom (and dad) made for their four children is something that shaped me and stays with me to this day. Funny thing is, they never sat me down and gave me “planned lessons” — I learned from watching the examples that they set.