Things like how much your house cost or how much money your parents made. Eventually, there comes a time when you can’t glean it from overheard scraps of adult conversation and you have been so sharply rebuffed in your queries by one or both parents that it seems pointless to ask again.
You resign yourself to never knowing.
At least those were the mysteries of my childhood. Anything concerning money was not consid-ered suitable for my little ears.
All I knew was that we lived in a middle class suburban neighborhood and that we always had everything we needed, though not every single thing we wanted. It was a healthy upbringing, and my parents taught me to spend and save wisely. I would go so far as to say they were considerably more frugal than most of our neighbors.
Now that I’m all grown up and finance has actually become a cool topic to discuss with my hus-band, my parents have opened up a little bit. When I told them we refinanced our house recently in order to take advantage of the currently low interest rates, the information I long ago gave up on suddenly flowed forth.
They explained to me exactly how they financed several real estate acquisitions.
This is the type of information that was considered taboo to discuss in front of me as a child, so I really had no idea about any of it. Listening to their descriptions of the decisions, of keeping the faith, of the payoffs, I realized they were just as young once as we are now.
I always knew my parents to be responsible adults. Their decisions, financial, or otherwise were not for me to question as I grew up. Things always fell together for us; they made sure any uncer-tainty was shielded from my brother and me behind an impenetrable curtain of privacy.
I still feel that their decisions are a good example, and I see things that we will do differently, simply because our lives and goals are different than theirs.
I feel so fortunate to have married a financially responsible man who takes seriously his role as the leader of our home. Many of my husband’s qualities mirror those of my dad.
After listening to them talk, I realized that uncertainty is part of the process. I’m not the financial expert of the family, but I realize there are some options that are simply better than others in the long-run. I also realize, however, as evidenced by the current economic climate, that the market is unpredictable and that all good investors were young at some point.
All the financial experts we have listened to on the radio or in the family have one piece of ad-vice in common, however. There’s nothing like good, old-fashioned saving for the young, the old and the in between.