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Gender Differences and Money

October 18th, 2006 at 08:07 pm

When I was growing up, my dad worked out of the house, for a paycheck, and my mother worked in the house -- managing the household of nine kids. Yes, we did have a maid for much of my childhood, who did laundry and housecleaning. My mom handled the daily needs of the kids and did all the shopping and cooking.

She also handled the money, as far as I can remember. She may have brought some money into the marriage, but it was likely only capital, like stocks inherited from her father. I don't know this for sure, but I've heard things over the years that made this seem likely.

But she also was the only one who I remember handlling money. She handed out allowance. She was the one who did the shopping, write the checks, and balanced the checkbook. I remember my dad asking her for money for the day. He brought home the paycheck, which she probably deposited. And then he would get his walking around money from her.

I don't know what sort of influence this had on me. I've read recently about how children's attitudes about money are shaped by their parents. But when I think of my parents, I think of how well they handled it. I never remember an argument about money in front of the kids (but they weren't the arguing types even behind cloed doors). They encouraged us all to work as soon as we could and all of us had jobs in high school. Most of us went to college, with generous help from our parents.

I don't remember too many specific conversations about money with my parents. I know they were concerned when I had my heart set on going to an expensive private school for college, but they didn't talk me out of it. I remembrer post-college, when I was working a minimum wage job, having a short conversation with my dad where he warned me about the perils of credit cards, a conversation I didn't take to heart.

So, they say the acorn doesn't fall from the tree, but this acorn rolled far far away.

2 Responses to “Gender Differences and Money”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    Wow, 9 kids. That's unfathomable to me.

    I'm glad they worked out so well.

    What kind of job did your father do?

  2. Susan Says:

    Attention Stray Acorn:
    It's cool that you recognize your parents' great money-managing skills and that you want to get better at doing the same. I don't think it matters that you are not a duplicate of them, what matters is that you know that you need to change directions and get control of the situation.

    What I noticed about myself with money is that I really never thought much about or paid attention to my spending habits, specifically items under $50. It has taken desperate circumstances to get my attention and consequently, I will never be the same. I guess my brain was short-circuited for a long time because I thought I made too little money to ever make a dent. But now, I think in a completely different way. No more indebtedness has become a goal that I will achieve. But don't beat yourself up about the past, just forge ahead with your revised thinking.

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