plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

January 24, 2008

family of origin finances

Filed under: philosophical — Tags: , , , — plonkee @ 1:13 pm

Normally, I write my posts the night before they go up, but a spontaneous trip to the pub happened after work last night, and – with good reason – I’ve made it a rule not to try to write after consuming more than, say a couple of pints. This means that I’m posting on the fly, but this is good because I can tell you about a conversation I just had with my dad on the phone.

We drifted on to the subject of personal finance, and the management of it, and I discovered that when my parents were together, my mum did all of the day to day money management – budgeting, paying the bills, cutting the costs.

My mum stayed at home for the first few years of their marriage, and did the things like grocery shopping and so on, so it made more sense for her to take control of the finances. Added to that, she is good at it, and my dad, by his own admission, is not hot on detail – especially when it comes to personal finance.

I didn’t know any of this information before, and it came in passing as we were talking about something connected with our respective day jobs. Thinking about my parents personalities, it makes perfect sense that they organised their joint finances this way, and that it worked well.

As I suspect is common in most families, we don’t normally talk about personal finance. Not the details of how what we’ve got, nor the approach that we take. I am vaguely aware that my parents used their overdraft when I was younger, and I imagine that my dad still does. I know that my mum believes strongly in paying off your credit card bill in full each month, and that she was concerned about some of my siblings having access to credit whilst at university. I also seem to recall (somewhat unusually for the time) that they were not in favour of endowment mortgages.

The things that I don’t know are more interesting to me. I’ve never known how much income they have  – I think they might tell me if I asked, with a good reason. I don’t know any of the details about whether they even have savings, investments or debts. I have no idea what they thought about educating us financially, and whether they think they were successful.

How much do you know about your family of origin’s finances? How much do you want to know? And, if you’re a parent, what will you and won’t you disclose to your children, and why?

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