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5 financial lessons you learned from your mother

7 May 2021

Top 10 financial tips you would give your younger self


Our mothers are the key figures in our early (and often later) lives and their example can affect how we go on to manage in the big wide world. One of the ways in which this is true is financially. Historically, men have taken the reins when it comes to money but now that this is no longer the case, we can all learn some really sound lessons from our mothers on the topic.

Here are five of them:

Be an equal financial partner

1. Be an equal financial partner

While it can be nice if someone offers to shoulder the burden of financial organisation for you, it isn’t advisable to be left entirely in the dark when it comes to your money. As a couple, the best you can do is to both have a full understanding of your finances. Discuss big purchases together, take turns paying the bills and, if you’re lucky enough to have investments, make sure you understand them as well as your partner. Should the worst happen and you are left to manage alone, financial independence and knowledge will be invaluable.

Face your finances head on

2. Face your finances head on

Teaching personal financial skills at an early age should be as important as learning to swim or joined up handwriting. As things don’t always work out that way at school, the daily sight of mothers budgeting, saving and balancing the books often serves as the best example. A household that is open about finance as something that needs regular care and attention offers a great financial start. If you stick your head in the sand, trouble will likely follow. Money and numbers should be nothing to fear, they might just save the day, so ask if you don’t understand.

Save save save

3. Save save save

If you want something big, you should work hard to afford it. Your mother probably taught you this in the form of chores, pocket money, budgeting and the rarity of simple hand-outs. Mothers are key in teaching the value of distinguishing between want and need. Plus there’s that patience we’re always told we don’t have enough of. As a child, your ice cream sundae tasted so much better if you’d saved your own money to pay for it. As an adult, the same applies when you’re eating one of those ice creams on a tropical holiday.

Borrow only as a last resort

4. Borrow only as a last resort

Spending less than you make is a great start. And going back to point 3, if you want something you don’t have enough money for, you should save rather than borrow.* Borrowing is rarely simple, not least because of interest rates. Your mother probably taught you this lesson via her credit card usage. Credit card payments can provide security on big purchases but you should still know you have enough money in your current account to clear the bill as soon as you’ve made it. Getting into debt is no fun for you or for your credit rating. *Mortgages are obviously an exception to this rule. Most people can’t afford to pay outright for a house and find that mortgage repayments make better financial sense than rental payments.

Retirement isn’t as far away as you may think

5. Retirement isn’t as far away as you may think

Starting your first job is a big milestone, as you face financial independence and the prospect of having some disposable income. So, when your mother asks you if you’re contributing to the company pension scheme, it’s a little bit annoying. You’re young, retirement is decades away, this new phase is supposed to be fun. >But it really is worth stopping to think about the fact that this is the perfect time to start planning for a secure future. Right now, you don’t have many responsibilities or ties and so you can probably afford to sacrifice a small part of that disposable income. It doesn’t all have to go on festivals and cocktails. Plus, if you want to spend your retirement going to festivals and drinking cocktails too you need to think about that now.

Annoyingly, mother quite often really does know best.