savings

10 money lessons from mom

7. "Don't be afraid to ask for help." Whether it's getting a great haircut or planning your retirement, there are some situations in which it pays to hire a good professional.

Kotzer remembers his mother's rule: "Certain things you do on your own; for others, you hire experts." Unfortunately, he says, "we've become a nation of do-it-yourselfers." As a result, he says, we're "not utilizing experts who can make our lives easier."

There are "a lot of people who are missing out on a lot because they're not getting proper advice," Kotzer says. "Take advantage of someone else's years of education."

8. "Take your time, and check your facts." Mom may have been talking about your math homework, but chances are this is one lesson she wanted you to take outside the classroom, too.

"In relationships or in money, it's so easy these days to con people," says Miller. Smart consumers "have to read the fine print," she says.

Taking your time to make a smart decision, or a time-out from making any decision, is a good strategy to keep from getting scammed or talked into a less-than-advisable situation.

"There are a lot of things you learn as you get older," says Miller. "One is that you can take a little time to make a decision."

9. "Be yourself." Remember all the times you asked to do something because "everybody else is doing it"? Chances are mom tried to get you to think for yourself. In an era of commercials, text messaging, cell phones and the Internet, adults and kids are continuously bombarded with information and images of what everyone else is doing, selling, buying or consuming. That can have huge financial implications as you try to balance immediate gratification with long-term goals such as education and savings.

"Try not to be so influenced by the media and all the other voices, and try to take the time and listen to your own voice," says Miller.

10. "There's more to life than money." More than anyone, moms know the importance of an extra dollar or two. At the same time, they also know what's really valuable.

Kotzer remembers one elderly woman who came to him shortly before she died. Her biggest worry: Her two kids weren't speaking to each other. She gave Kotzer an envelope and asked him to call a meeting between her son and daughter after she'd died to reveal the contents.

A short time later, Kotzer did exactly that. In the envelope was a collection of photos from when the kids had grown up together. There were shots of them arm in arm, on the way to school, playing, laughing and hugging. Along with it was a note from their mother, reminding them how much they loved and cared for each other as children and young adults, and telling them to look out for each other now. The last line brought the two grown siblings to tears. She wrote: "I'll be watching you."

Says Kotzer, "She brought the two kids together with her words."

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