Several months ago we asked Bankrate newsletter
readers to tell us what they have learned from their mothers and
fathers about money. Here are some of the readers' responses, complete
with a treasure trove of advice from their parents.
We've paired this wisdom with tools and calculators
so you can put this advice into action now. You've may have heard
some of these ideas before, but it never hurts to reinforce the
good practices that our parents instilled in us.
Don't get a tax refund
When I was growing up my mom always said, "You should never get a tax refund. You should always plan to have to pay just a little when
tax time comes around. Because if you get a tax refund, the government has had your money all year long, and you aren't able to use it."
The reason this advice is all the more interesting is that my mother never went to college or studied finance. She just knew intuitively
that getting a tax refund wasn't in your best interest.
-- Jane Walther, Florida
to find out how much to withhold from your paycheck.
Save and invest your money
The best thing my parents did financially was teaching me how to save money. When I had my first part-time job, I put 1/3 in the bank,
gave 1/3 to my parents and kept 1/3 of my paycheck. After my bank account reached a certain level, I was then taught how to invest my
money in the stock market and make a "big-ticket" purchase. I am forever grateful for them teaching me the value of money.
-- T. Di Vincenzo, Philadelphia
Want to be
a millionaire? Bankrate's "Save
" calculator can show you how.
Learn to be independent
My parents made me clearly understand that once I was on my own, there was no fallback party in their backyard. This made me aware
that every dime I earned needed to sustain me during good times and bad and that I was not able to spend all my discretionary cash
every month. Complete and unequivocal independence is the best gift any parent can give their kids.
-- Robin Fellner, California
Learn where your money goes each month with Bankrate's household budget
Play the float
My mother taught me how to kite (float) checks when I was 4. I don't
think that she meant to do it, but I was a bright child and
understood her explanation. I also watched her pay the bills and
do the worrying for the family.
The result was that I made it my business to pay off
my student loans as quickly as possible after graduating from college.
I lived decently, but I'm what the credit card companies call a
"deadbeat" because I pay off my credit card bills every
month, unless I have some zero percent interest promotion that I
can put into a four- or five-month CD and make money on the float.
Never underestimate the power of a bad example.
-- Joanne Fendell, Virginia