In this episode of Money Files, I sit down with my mom to talk about how her early experiences with money shaped how she taught my siblings and me about finances. My mom got her first job very young and used her paycheck to save for new school clothes. Her commitment to saving has remained constant throughout her life.
We also discuss how my journey with money began. I remember always hearing the word “budget” at home. When I got my first babysitting job, I worked hard to grow my young business and save. The foundational principle of putting money aside for a rainy day led me to get my first bank account and start making my own purchases. As I talk with my Mom, it becomes evident that my parent’s dedication to saving influenced my financial choices from a young age.
Finally, my mom and I touch on the intentional sacrifices my parents made to support my siblings and me. I ask how they decided what to spend money on and how those spending boundaries were formed. Learning about the similarities between my mother’s relationship with money and mine is interesting.
I hope you enjoy our banter as my mother and I reminisce about my childhood and our money memories. I also encourage you to have a discussion with whoever your biggest financial influence was as a child to see how those early conversations have shaped your feelings about money.
In this episode, I speak to my mother about…
[01:42:00] What was your experience growing up with money?
[00:04:07] Is (the importance of saving) what you took away from the lessons learned as a child when it came to managing money? How did that shape how you handled money as an adult?
[00:07:29] You and daddy got married in 1975. What conversations did you guys have about how you wanted to manage money?
Tune in to this episode of Money Files as I sit down with my Mom to talk about how her early experiences with money shaped how she taught my siblings and me about finances.
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Transcript for “How My Parents Influenced My Relationship With Money”
Keina: Hi and welcome to Money Files. I’m Keina Newell from Wealth Over Now. I work every day with professional women and solopreneurs to help them get out of financial overwhelm and shame so they can experience more flexibility and ease with their finances. Are you ready to gain confidence and learn to manage your finances intentionally? Tune in and grab financial tips that will help you master the way you think about and manage your finances.
Keina: Hi, and welcome back to another episode of Money Files. Today I have a special episode with my mother who I affectionately call mommy and I am going to let her introduce herself. Hi mommy.
Mom: Hi Keina. Do I sound like you?
Keina: I think that’s for the people to determine if we sound like one another. I hear that we do sometimes. So I called my mother, spur the moment, one, I had this podcast episode on my radar and then I never shared with her that I had it on my radar. But I thought it would be fun to talk about money with my mom because in other podcast episodes I have talked about how my parents have shaped my beliefs about money. And so I called her as she’s in retirement and usually watching Judge Judy and drinking coffee and ask her if she would hop on Zoom with me. So my dad, her technical support team has gotten her on Zoom. So we’re ready to go, right Mom?
Mom: Oh yes, I’m ready, with all the technical issues.
Keina: Well, the first question I want to ask you is what was your experience growing up? I want to say with money and with money not meaning like having money or not having money, but how did you see money play a role in your household?
Mom: Well, my first experiences with money was probably when I got old enough to think that I could have a job because back in the sixties and maybe early fifties, sixties, children would work outside the home. So at about 13 I wanted to have a job because I wanted to make money for summer clothes, for school clothes. So the thing was to have your own little job so that you have access to your money. And so my first job was at 13 and it was just to buy school clothes for the new school year. And that job only lasted for a couple of weeks. So that was kind of my first experience. And of course even being younger than that, it was about having allowances and you could make decisions with your allowance money for whatever. We had allowance money for chores so it kind of started with chores. And then to the point of just having your own money and having a job.
Keina: How much did you get for an allowance? Do you remember?
Mom: Like $2 a week.
Keina: That’s how much granny gave you?
Mom: $2. Yeah.
Keina: What kind of decisions did you make with your $2?
Mom: Well we could save it and when I was younger, like younger than 10, we didn’t get $2 at 10, but it progressed to $2. We would buy, just candy and sometimes we have false nails or just art. Save it for Mother’s Day because I would buy things for my mom. I really thought I had made the money so I would go and buy her like a Mother’s Day gift. But I would save it. We would save our money in little jars. We had piggy banks. So that’s kinda how it started. And then I would hear my mom talking about saving money. Not that she had a lot of money to save, but I would hear her talk about saving money. So that’s kind of what my experience with money is about saving it because if you saved it then you would have money to do something at a later time.
Keina: Is that what you took away from the lessons learned I guess as a child when it came to managing money?
Keina: So how did that shape how you handled money as an adult? Like your lived experiences as a child?
Mom: Well, after learning that I needed to work for money and knowing that you had to save the money that you acquired through working, then the money that I had was used for, in my mind it was about saving money so that you would have access to it later. And then I also, if I owed money to someone, I always wanted to make sure I never owed someone. I used my money, like a lay way because lay aways were a really big thing. You make sure you pay off your lay away or somebody if a store credited you something, you would use that savings to make sure that your debt was covered. So I learned early on not to have debt. If you get something from someone, you pay that money back. So that was with the layaway because back then that’s what people did was the layaway. And then of course you could go to the store and have credit. You could buy things without money but you had to pay for it later.
Keina: So when was your introduction? I feel like you taught me, not that credit cards are bad, but you and daddy I feel like very much are like pay off your credit card balances at the end of the month. But when were you introduced to credit cards?
Mom: Maybe it wasn’t credit cards so much. Like I said, you could go to a store and you could have credit. It wasn’t a card.
Keina: Yeah, like a lay away, kind of, like an extension of that.
Mom: It was like credit, you could go in the store and the little stores in the community and they would allow you to charge to your credit. You had a credit there in the store, they gave it to you. It wasn’t a card, it was just, they kept tabs of it.
Keina: Yeah, but when did you get your first credit card though?
Mom: Oh, our first credit card. When dad and I first got married we didn’t have a credit card. We were married in 75 so we didn’t have a credit card. And maybe in the eighties we got a first credit card and I’m trying to think what the first credit card was because we just kind of charged things. But it was like a store charge credit. It wasn’t like a credit card. Like you could go to the base and you could buy things but it was on credit or kind of like a layaway because they didn’t give you a card. It was like an account. And so the first credit card was probably in the eighties somewhere. I don’t remember exactly our first card and who it was with. I’m trying to even think, I don’t even remember. What was the bank we had in Florida?
Keina: Penn Air.
Mom: Penn Air. We did have a credit card with them. So it would probably have been Penn Air because we’ve been banking with them since we were married early on. So our first credit card would’ve been with them and it would’ve been like the late eighties. So we had been married a while before we got a credit card because we knew that credit cards could be a bad thing. So we kind of stayed clear of those. And then when we did get one, we never had a balance on it. We would try to pay it off.
Keina: So you and daddy got married in 1975? What conversations did you guys have about how you wanted to manage money?
Mom: Our conversations was always about saving money, having a certain balance, a certain amount of money. Like if something was to happen then we wanted to be able to go home. We lived not near our family so we always kept a certain amount of money so we could travel home. We kept a certain amount of money so if something was due we could cover it. If dad wasn’t in town or something by him traveling, we just always had a little nestate that we could draw from.
Keina: How much did you guys talk about having? Do you remember?
Mom: We always had at least $3,000. Then as we got older, of course it got bigger and for some reason growing up Haley, my stepdad used to keep a $10,000 savings. And so dad and I always wanted to try to get ours up to that it. So it started with a thousand dollars. I remember when it was like at a thousand and then it went to 25 and then to 3000 because $3,000 was kind of a lot of money back then if you had to cover something. But I remember Haley having at least that much money in his account all the time because he did construction work and he didn’t work when there was bad weather. So he kept a certain amount of money. So if he didn’t work for three, four months that money could cover his time when he wasn’t in a job. So I kind of guess that’s kind of where I got that from. But dad and I would just talk about having a little nestate to cover certain things if something happened. Emergencies.
Keina: Yeah. I don’t think you’ve ever told me about Hayley having his $10,000 set to the side. I can see how that’s important as you have like seasonal work.
Mom: Yeah. He was really good with money that way. He always had money to cover something. And that didn’t mean that we had a lot of money. He always had some money to do something with. And so for us back then budgeting, like you talk a lot about budgeting now. That’s kind of how it was back then because you weren’t talking about a lot of money, you just needed a little nestate if something went wrong. Not that it would cover everything in life but you had something to fall back on.
Keina: Yeah. How do you and daddy budget? Because I think I’ve told you several times and for those of you listening, I don’t feel like you guys taught me how to budget per se. You taught me that I needed to have money and you taught me, let’s make sure you pay off your credit cards. But I don’t remember a strict budgeting lesson that you ever gave me
Mom: A time or two I did do like a budgeting thing. I don’t know if you were paying attention.
Keina: I think that was for the boys and I was just a byproduct and learned through osmosis.
Mom: Yeah. But he had a whole big chart for budgeting and I think you maybe picked up on it and they didn’t. We did like a chart.
Keina: So for those of you listening, my brothers are nine and six years older than me. My parents are scared to tell me I’m an afterthought. But I don’t think you guys sat down with me explicitly. Like I remember the conversations that you had with the boys but I just know that I remember watching you and dad pay bills and I knew you were supposed to be “responsible” with money. And I knew that you guys also were very generous with your money. Like if somebody needed help, you would prioritize being able to help other people. But I don’t like I said remember an explicit lesson on budgeting.
Mom: Well that’s because you were in the meeting with the boys. And you were quite a bit younger than them. But the thing is, is that you picked up on it and I saw it as you grew up because when you turned 10 you got a job babysitting, it might even been before 10. And you put your little flyers out there and you started working with money. You had your own little money from your babysitting. I never looked at your money because you were using it wisely.
Keina: No, but you reduced my wages as a babysitter.
Mom: Well that’s true because you don’t cheat people.
Keina: Y’all she messed with my money mindset at a very early age. The neighbor across the street, I can’t remember if they gave me maybe $10 an hour or $5 an hour. But my mom made me change my, I didn’t even have a rate but she made me go back. She said, you go give this money back and you should only charge like $3 an hour Keina. And I was in fourth grade at the time.
Mom: Well people are working hard. They have children and you don’t take money undeservedly, you know, and I just wanted you to know that you give back, you don’t take from people. So I was trying to teach you that you can acquire money but you don’t have to cheat people to make money. So that was what I wanted you to learn. But again, I just think that because we talked about things with the boys, you were always in the midst of whatever we talked about. There was a lot of things that I had seen that you gleaned from our conversations and you made it a part of who you were. Don’t get personal about that. But there are several things that I can see in your life that you weren’t even ready for that conversation but you heard it and you went forward with it.
Keina: Yeah, I think my earliest money memory when you were sharing yours is I remember when you made me take out a lay away for those little figurines, the soccer player and the cheerleader. And we were in downtown Edmond and I think the total purchase mom couldn’t have been more than like 15 or like $30. But you made me take out a lay away.
Mom: Well that’s how you had to learn about money. That’s a good way to learn about money. And then you had to pay it off yourself.
Keina: Yeah. When you could have just fronted the loan.
Mom: Then you wouldn’t have learned what you learned, what kind of memories you have. So that was just a teachable moment. I mean I could pay and I probably did pay for it.
Keina: I don’t think you paid for it. My $3 an hour salary.
Mom: Your babysitting money. But if you were making money you needed to use it. You didn’t need to steal from your parents.
Keina: Did you and dad have any explicit conversations about what you wanted to teach your kids about money?
Mom: I think I probably did. I don’t think dad is the kind of person that thinks.
Keina: Forward in that way.
Mom: Yeah. Forward in that way. I think I was talking to him about the things that we wanted to teach and then of course he just agreed with me and so I would always initiate it and then dad would just join in follow suit and then he probably would end up being the main one involved in it after I initiate the conversation or the things that you guys needed to learn, then he would just take over from there, like he did with the tech stuff today.
Keina: I was trying to think about other money moments. I knew that I needed money to be able to do different things. Even me writing, I was petitioning you when I was younger for a cell phone and I had a whole plan how I could pay my own bill. I just needed you to sign the paperwork because I was under 18. You didn’t care about that goal in my life.
Mom: Well, you didn’t need a phone at that time. And I just told you when you move out or something. I can’t remember exactly.
Keina: I think you told me when I got 18. So literally on my 18th birthday I went into Sam’s Club and got my own Nokia cell phone.
Mom: And you had money.
Keina: I had my paperwork, I did have money.
Mom: Yep. Aand the boys, they didn’t get none of that either. Not for free.
Keina: They didn’t have cell phones when they were younger. I mean they weren’t a thing.
Mom: Yeah it was the pagers that was a thing.
Keina: Oh yeah. Adrian had a pager. I don’t know how was he going to pay for that?
Mom: First of all, he wasn’t allowed to have a pager.
Keina: I know that but he got himself one.
Mom: Yeah, well he wasn’t very smart because he had to come to the house.
Keina: Oh I know another money memory that I had too. I remember in elementary school the bank came and they were encouraging us to open up savings accounts and I remember coming home to you because they probably told me I got something and I was very incentivized by whatever they were going to give me. It was probably a stuffed animal or whatever it was. But I do remember coming home and asking to open a bank account and then you or daddy or whoever you took me to the credit union. And then that’s when I started that Christmas fund account.
Mom: Yeah. But you know you had an account before that.
Keina: Yes. I knew that you had savings accounts for all of us and I was aware of that but I think I really wanted my own.
Mom: Where you could go and put your own money in.
Keina: Space to, yeah like look at this I made and they gave you like a lollipop if you made your deposits. And I liked that level of ownership.
Mom: Well it sounds like when I was 13 I wanted my own job so I could buy my own school clothes. My mom didn’t make me work but I just wanted to have my own stuff and I was just,11 and 12 and 13 and I was already thinking that. So it’s the same premise. I don’t think I got my first banking account. I maybe was maybe 15 or something like that. You have a hundred dollars and you think that you’re so rich.
Keina: Oh the hundred dollars. I remember making $300 a month in college and I was very wealthy. Very, very wealthy. Going back to teaching your kids about money, I was thinking about the fact, just to give you guys more context. My parents bought us all cars. That was something that we were gifted. Like we all had a car at 16. I know we had an allowance. I can’t remember how much you gave us at different points of time in terms of allowance, but I felt like my parents were always very much willing to support us financially in those ways. But what decisions did you make? Because I talked to clients sometimes about like what they want to do with their kids about, you know, are your kids going to get an allowance? What do you want to teach them about money? But what was that decision making process? Or did you have one?
Mom: Dad and I we did have conversations about how we would give you money and it started with allowances. I don’t think that dad grew up with allowances. It was 10 of them. So I don’t think that they had that in their home.
Keina: Yeah that luxury.
Mom: Because I did, it was just three of us. So my mom and we didn’t have money but my mom always used chores to provide us with allowances and every week we had a schedule on the refrigerator, every month it would change monthly I think, sometimes weekly. And we would go by that how we did our chores. So did I do that with you guys as far as chores? I don’t know if I listed it.
Keina: I don’t remember listing it. The main thing I remember is we had different weeks for dishes. It’d be like Keina’s week or Adrian’s week and if the boys ever listen to this they’re going to say Keina didn’t do chores. But that’s what I mainly remember is the dishwashing.
Mom: Well that’s how it started because I always had an allowance and so I wanted to do that with you guys because it helped us with the money. At least for me. It helped me with the money because I just would listen to my mom talk about money and my stepdad and I was hearing all of that. And so when we had children we decided on having allowances and I don’t even really remember how much it was. Do you remember how much I would give you?
Keina: I don’t remember how much you would give me. I do remember like high school, college. I feel like you gave me like gas money more so and that was like just a set amount for whatever reason. Like 40 or $50 kind of comes to mind. You gave me like a very set amount. Granted gas and stuff was all cheaper but then I also had my babysitting money too. But I definitely remember getting an allowance and I think when I was younger it was maybe more physical cash. Like here’s $5.
Mom: Yeah it was.
Keina: But then you did bank transfers as I got older.
Mom: Yeah. You should remember that bank transfer because I remember you trying to keep it.
Keina: Oh I was trying to hold on to it as long as possible.
Mom: Holding on to it as long as you can, you’re just saying mom, I know that I’m not living at home now and I know but I kinda need my.
Keina: I need my allowance.
Mom: You lobbied for that allowance.
Keina: Listen guys, you gotta advocate for all finances, even if it’s with your parents.
Mom: Yeah. So you did, you had that up until you were probably maybe 25. Came out of our account every month.
Keina: But I was a good steward of my financing.
Mom: You were a good steward. That’s kind of why you were getting it.
Keina: Did the boys, did they manage their allowance?
Mom: No they didn’t.
Keina: Like I’m thinking about gas money. Even in high school.
Mom: They got gas money and what I look for is the way that you guys used the money. You shouldn’t have been coming back asking me for gas money. I don’t ever remember the boys doing that either. They didn’t because they knew that I was saying no. And if your car is on empty, that is not my problem. Anyway, they did get money and they also worked as well. And so they knew that if they worked, that’s what that money was for. We just covered your insurance. We’re just not buying gas. And you didn’t really work outside of school except for babysitting. And so we probably gave you more gas money than the boys.
Keina: I had a very profitable business.
Mom: Yes you did. And I didn’t know how profitable, because I would’ve maybe not been giving you gas money.
Keina: I think I needed my gas money.
Mom: But you still were getting your hair done, that kind of stuff.
Keina: Yeah. Yeah. Like I said, my $300 a month in college, I was very, very wealthy. I had another question I was going to ask you. And I think for those of you who have listened to some of my story, I’ve shared that I grew up in a one income household. So my parents were both in the military and my mom chose to leave the military when she had my brother.
Mom: To be a homemaker.
Keina: To be a homemaker.
Mom: Stay at home mom.
Keina: With her archaic word of homemaker. But I just remember, I think as a kid, I don’t know how much money I thought my parents made and as we got older I definitely knew how much we made. But I think about those intentional sacrifices. I believe we were talking recently when I was at home the last time about, what’d you say, that when we lived in Florida, you guys were going to like the Epcot center with the church. To the Epcot center. And basically it was like you guys had enough in your budget to be able to afford to go on the trip. But in terms of if they stopped at McDonald’s, you were telling the boys we’re not getting anything. I’ve already packed our lunch.
Mom: We talked about we’re on a budget. We always said you should remember because we say we’re on a budget, we can’t do that. We have a budget.
Keina: Yeah. I do remember that we’re taking our own food and we can’t eat out.
Mom: We have our food. And so when they stopped at McDonald’s, y’all looked awfully sad and pitiful because nobody wanted chicken salad. That’s what we had. Chicken salad and chips and one of those little drinks with the straw.
Keina: Those Caprisun.
Mom: Yes. And the boys looked so sad and dad said okay, you can have fries. So we did buy McDonald fries. That was in our budget.
Keina: But yeah. How did you guys make the, I know it was an intentional decision but just thinking about living off of one income.
Mom: We did that and you guys actually went to private school. We had three kids in private school. So I just think that if you make sacrifices, that’s why we couldn’t eat at McDonald’s like that. And we had pizza and McDonald’s often. There was just times when we couldn’t waste money. We had to pick and choose when we can use it for those purposes. I grew up in a household where my mom worked and I was one of those kids that needed my mom. And back when I was being raised, most mothers were in the home anyway. But there was a lot of mothers that were not. And my mom, she didn’t have the liberty of not working. And I was a kid that needed my mom and I didn’t act out because I didn’t have my mom. It’s just that nurturing thing about a mom being home when you come home from school and just having some sort of structure in the home. And my mom did all of that really well even being a working mom. But for me, I was just that kid that needed that.
I don’t even know if she knew that. But when I did have children and the first time that I left Tez, I had about, oh maybe two months left in the military. And so after leaving him for those days in someone else’s home, I knew that I couldn’t do that for his life. And then just being a woman of God, I just knew what my place was and I wanted to be the best mom I could be. And so I chose to get out the military and I loved the military. I didn’t get out because I didn’t like it. I got out because I wanted to make a better place for my children. So that’s how we did it. And then we just lived on one income and we knew that there was certain things that we couldn’t do because of that. And at the same time, having a certain budget, a certain amount of money that we’re trying to reserve for the future.
Keina: Yeah, I did definitely hear the word budget, which I just want to let you guys know that my parents are really wealthy now because the grandkids, they get everything. All the things I wanted. I wanted a power wheel as a child. We couldn’t get it because we’re on a budget. But guess who had a power wheel? The grandkids.
Mom: You got a power wheel.
Keina: I never had a power wheel. I wanted that pink jeep. I wanted it from service [26:22 inaudible].
Mom: But you had a power wheel.
Keina: No, I had a big wheel.
Mom: Well that’s a big wheel. That’s a power wheel.
Keina: A power wheel had a battery. It would motorized. You mean the motorized coast. Yes.
Mom: Well we wanted to give it to you.
Keina: I know, I know you did. But I just want to let you guys know, my parents are very wealthy because the grandkids, I’m still waiting on the rock Tumblr that I wanted as a child.
Mom: And we’re not wealthy. We’re still doing the same thing, budgeting.
Keina: Knowing what I know now, I know that you guys made a lot of intentional sacrifices, but I never felt like we were without, and I always appreciate, and I’ve said this to you, mom, just like the support that you’ve always given me. Even I’m thinking about, I mean you’ve supported me through moves across country, but even when I said I wanted to invest in my first business coach and I called my mom and dad and asked for a loan for $6,000 and I remember my mom asking me, do you think that’s going to work? But she gave me the loan anyways and now I’m here. So I think it worked.
Mom: I think it’s working too.
Keina: It’s still working. Yeah, you’ve always supported me on the financial wisdom in making sure I’ve had what I needed in life. So I appreciate that. Oh, I had one more question for you. I don’t know if I fully asked you this, but one of your concerns that as I heard it, if you will, when I left my full-time job, which has been almost two years ago now, you repeated back to me, Keina, you need a job. But what were you thinking as a mother watching your child who you know, needs to pay her bills? Say, mommy, I’m leaving my job to just work for myself.
Mom: That’s when you had made the decision.
Keina: Yeah. I don’t think I asked you. I think I just told you because I know if I ask then I have to listen to your rebuttal.
Mom: Well yeah, I do remember you telling me that you were going to quit your job and there’s not going to be any negotiations about it, negotiating this. And I’m going to be leaving my job at such and such a time. And so I just trusted your decision because you’ve always made good decisions. So for that reason, I didn’t challenge you. Now, had you been one of the boys, I would’ve said, nah, you’re not doing that beause I know the way they roll. So anyway, your brother now talks about a business. He just talks. But anyway, I trusted you enough to make that decision. But when I said you need to have a job, I guess I was thinking of the backup thing that you need to have a plan B in case A don’t work. So that’s probably what I was thinking more along those lines. But you can’t progress if you don’t have some failures.
Keina: Well, you’ve supported me.
Mom: I believe in you and even more, I believe more in God leading you than you leading yourself.
Keina: Yes ma’am I know. Well this is our podcast episode. Do you want to say anything else, mommy?
Mom: No. Only that I love you.
Keina: I love you too. Well, thank you guys for listening. I hope you enjoyed my mother and I as a banter. If you come visit us in Oklahoma, you can hear us all the time or on any weekday as we talk on the phone with each other. But thank you so much for listening to this episode of Money Files. And I also want to invite you on February 15th, I am going to be doing a free money class called Three Keys to Drama Free Spending. And I want to help you as a six figure earner be able to spend money in a way that is drama free and that you’re able to have a financial system that lets you know that you always have money available to spend on the things that you love. So if you go to my show notes, you can register for that money class. Again, it’s on February 15th at 12:30 PM Eastern Standard Time. You need to come invite a friend to come and I will see you there.
Keina: Thank you so much for listening to Money Files. If you’re ready to take the next step to reach your financial goals, head to www.wealthovernow.com/appointment and let’s get started.