A recent CNN story reported that 42% of people learned their financial smarts from their parents. That means over half of those surveyed felt they received the majority of their financial education from outside of their home. If people aren’t learning from their parents, it begs the question: Where are people learning about money?
It’s no question that others constantly influence us when it comes to spending and saving money. We watch stories of successful millionaires and read articles about successful business people, soaking up small tidbits of how they got there. But we don’t have to go very far to learn about money. In fact, I’d say that while 42% of people said they got their money smarts from their parents, the remaining 58% of people may have had to break some bad habits learned form their parents.
Ask anyone growing up in a home where finances were always tight and saving money wasn’t the main focus and they’ll probably agree that their financial education from their parents was limited at best. Growing up in a family of ten and often one income, our finances were tight and savings echoed that as well. While we learned how to live frugally, our financial smarts ended there, leaving the concepts of investing, long-term savings, and emergency savings unaddressed.
Learning About Money Outside of the Family
Blogs and Online Resources
You know firsthand how easy it is to go online to learn about saving, spending, and investing money. There are quite a few established finance blogs on the web today that do a great job explaining basic topics like budgeting, frugality, investing, retirement and taxes.
If you’re in college, take advantage of the business courses available to you and add a personal finance course. If you don’t want to sit through another course, you can find out what book they’re using and go through it on your own time.
There certainly aren’t a shortage of business and finance books today. There’s an entire section at Barnes and Noble dedicated to business and finance, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a book that you can really learn from. Some of the most popular books on personal finance today are Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and Ramit Sethi’s book I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
Your children might be learning more at school than they are at home when it comes to finances. Ask them about what they’re learning. Help reinforce the importance of what they’re learning by encouraging them to learn more through age appropriate books and shows about money.
While it’s true that the majority of those surveyed didn’t learn about money from their family, it can be argued that the resources to learn about personal finance are quite numerous. I personally have grown in knowledge through independent research and by subscribing to sites (like this one :).
So where did you get your money smarts? What other resources are out there for learning about money?
Peter Anderson says
I learned about a lot of things from my parents, but money probably wasn’t one of them where they actually sat down and taught me things. I learned from them in an indirect way, by the way they lived a frugal lifestyle, drove the same cars for years, and how they never really took on debt.
I’ve also learned a ton from reading, from Dave Ramsey’s class, and in the past 5-6 years – from blogs.
I really think that there isn’t much excuse these days for not having a financial education – except that it wasn’t a priority for you.
I took business/finance in college. Let’s just say that I learned how to pass tests. When it comes to actually learning about money it was through a variety of books/blogs.
I had a term off in early-2008 because I took summer school the year before so that I didn’t have to trek it down to college in the snow. I used this time as self-education. I read every blog on the topic, read like 5 books, and started my own blog. I learned the most from a common sense book “Have More Money Now.” The author introduced very simple topics like paying yourself first and spending less than you earn. It’s all about learning the basics instead of getting caught up in the intricate details.
While I had exposure to finances in school. But, I really learned my core basic money handling skills through watching, living with, and listening to my parents.
Just learning the concepts in school or college isn’t enough. This is why we sometimes read about financial advisers and accountants that are/were in debt…
I learned about money mostly from books. Luckily I fell in with the Boglehead crowd early on, so I was able to learn from others’ mistakes and not have to make them myself. My parents did teach my the basics, but they weren’t exactly investing experts themselves.
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says
Most (okay all), I learned from my mom. I’ve been really blessed to have very open conversations with her about money. Plus, she turned everything into a learning experience when I was growing up.
Charitable Giving says
I got mine from just learning online. You can find everything on there. Then you just apply those concepts in real life and see what works.
Totally agree with Peter when he says: ‘I really think that there isn’t much excuse these days for not having a financial education – except that it wasn’t a priority for you.’
My first experience was reading Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad – that started me on my journey.
Financial education is the biggest thing lacking from our education system, so it is up to us as parents to teach our children well. And, in the process teach them how to teach their children.
I didn’t get my money smarts from my parents! They were always in debt. I learned everything from researching and reading books. I did get some knowledge from them but not much.
I also wish they taught this stuff in high school and I still don’t know why they don’t! I believe its just as important to teach financial education as they do with cooking and sewing.
Financial Planning Tips says
Boring answer but true! Money management from Mom – earning from Dad! Investing is my light spot, wish Grandpa was still alive, he was pretty good from what I understand.
Cherleen @ yesiamcheap says
Sad to say but my parents are not good in handling money. Thanks to the existence of internet and blogs, I learned how to handle my finances intelligently.