What Was Money Like Growing Up?

When I was growing up my family didn’t have a lot of money to spend on luxuries.  In fact, I can remember rooting around in our couch cushions trying to find spare change to buy gas for my ’69 VW Bug.  With a 10 gallon tank and 90¢ gas you’d be surprised how far I could go after a little scavenging.  Thankfully, today I can fill my Honda Accord’s gas tank without having to tear through our living room couch cushions, but, I still have a tendency to view money as a very limited resource.  Some would say I’m frugal, others stingy. Either way my past experiences directly impact the conversations I have and the decisions I make with my finances.

One of the things I’ve learned during my career as a financial advisor is that no two people view money in the same way.  You already knew this if you’ve ever had to deal with another person in any sort of financial capacity.  So when it comes to discussing finances, perhaps as a newlywed couple making joint financial decisions for the first time, or a couple of 35 years just beginning to tackle retirement, understanding and respecting how our significant others view money is crucial.  And since our views are shaped by our past experiences, knowing how money influenced our significant other’s childhood is often a good place to start.

Because my wife Crystal knows how I was influenced by money growing up, she can better understand why, for example, I cringe at the thought of tapping into our emergency account.  Our mutual understanding of each other’s financial perspectives has turned many otherwise difficult conversations regarding finances into fruitful and often funny moments with better decisions as a result.

If you really want to better understand your spouse, significant other, parent or even business partner, ask him or her what money was like growing up.

Geoff Hall, CFP®
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My wife, Crystal, and I have been married for 11 years and have two kids, Cooper (10) and Rhodes (8.) When I’m not spending time with them you might find me downtown serving at our church, pushing my limits during a mountain bike ride or having coffee with a friend in the Five Points area. I've been a financial advisor for 29 years and I'm thankful for the privilege of shepherding my family of clients through the ups and down of the markets, and of life for that matter.