My mother hates when I disclose her age, but I’ve be given permission to say she's in her 80s. She lives in an assisted-living facility which she challenges daily and even the owners wonder why she is there because she is actually never there. She is out and about and as she says living life. Mom has never worried about money and has never been envious of anyone else’s wealth. She continues to actively manage her own portfolio although, just this year decided it was time to work with an advisor – but trust me that doesn’t mean she always takes the recommendation. She follows the markets closely and manages her financial life quite confidently and actively. However, she is a realist and wants to ensure in the event she is unable to manage her financial situation someone is there to step in.
Here are a few financial lessons I’ve from my mother throughout my life:
- No one person has all the answers. If you diversify your assets you should also diversify your knowledge sources. Stay up to date on current affairs and the devil is always in the details. Take the time to read contracts very thoroughly. You don’t know what you don’t know until you take the time to read things through thoroughly. Ask lots of questions.
- Live prudently and below your means. Look at the areas where you are spending and make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.
- It is your money and you don’t have to answer to anyone about what you decide to do with it. Be responsible spend some, save some and give some. Life is about balance.
- Money isn’t a taboo subject. She has put powers of attorneys into place for both her finances and healthcare arrangements and has made her intentions very clear. No guessing game here.
- Mom reminds me on a regular basis…money isn’t meant to be loved. It will never love you back. You don’t want to die the richest person in the graveyard. But on the other hand she has lived her life so that she will never become a financial burden on her family. Her words not mine. In fact, mom has taught us all to save for the rainy, the emergency situation and recognize that one day your employment income will seize and for some that could be one of the saddest financial days of their life – if they haven’t planned for it.
You would never want to pull a financial fast one on mom. She does her homework, she researches the facts and she will challenge if appropriate. And if you owe her even a dime you better pay it back on time. Late payments have never been acceptable. It is all about taking financial responsibility for your life. Sure she can be tough financially but trust me she gives in so many ways. I can only hope the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree." Time will tell.
Happy Mother’s Day, mom!