Father figures and financial wisdom

What's your money story and what financial wisdom did you learn from your dad or father figures in your life?  I weighed-in with Global's, The Morning Show last week to share my family story.  Catch the segment here.

I was raised by a single mom and I'm far from alone.  Right now, 13% of women are single mom’s in Canada representing nearly two million people in our country.

My mom raised my two brothers and me on her own and it was a huge emotional and financial struggle and she had ZERO support.  I received some of the best budgeting and debt management advice ever from my mom – I wouldn’t have had to write 11 books if I would have listened to her advice.

Investment advice came from my uncles:

I’m so grateful to my mom for her cash flow and debt management advice – and these topics are very important but they’re not going to grow your wealth. And, because my mom was born in the late 1930s and was the youngest of 14 kids, women of her generation rarely had their own career or wealth accumulation aspirations.  Other than through their husband.  In fact, when I wrote my last book, Rich Girl, Broke Girl, I had a picture of my Grandma near me at all times.  It was a reminder that just a few short generations ago, women like her couldn’t own property in their own name or make many life decisions without their husband.

It was my uncles that taught me about investing: stocks, bonds, real estate and owing and operating a business. BUT – that advice didn’t come freely.  Afterall, I was a girl asking those questions and as men born in the 1920’s, girls didn’t ask those questions.  We are supposed to find success by marrying rich (sometimes implied by my uncles and aunts and sometimes vocalized as overt advice).

Advice from my rich clients when I started very early in the financial industry:

I remember one of my very wealthy clients who’s a dear friend today.  He took me out for lunch early in my career (I should have paid for him as he was my client). I saw him checking over the bill and flagging over the server because he was charged for an extra coffee that we hadn’t received.  In my eyes, only poor people scrutinized their bills, not super wealthy people.  But what I learned from him and many of my ultra rich clients over the years is that they negotiate hard (on everything), pay attention to every dollar and aren’t necessarily cheap, but they’re ardently frugal.  That was a huge eye opener to me in my early 20s.

Advice from my older brother:

 Because most of my uncles that became quite wealthy made their money buying up real estate in the 1950’s a 60’s, my older brother (12 years my senior), was adamant that real estate was the best investment.  And, that you should always buy, and never rent.  He bought his first home when mortgage rates were 18%.

So, the best and worst advice I received from my brother was to buy a condo when I was 18 years old.  Even with my mom’s help, I barely afforded buying it and remember bouncing the cheque for my first month’s condo fees (I didn’t budget for closing costs that were several thousand dollars and weren’t rolled into my mortgage).

There really is a time to rent and a time to consider buying – depending on where you live, your age, your aspirations to move around the country and world and of course, affordability.  There’s no shame in renting, but in my family when I was starting out and in many families, there’s huge pressure to buy.  In hindsight, it’s been a great move for me to be a home owner and I’ve had rental prosperities over the years too.  So I’m grateful to my brother for his advice.  But – you always have to crunch all of the obvious and less obvious costs and risks when it comes to buying property or it can cost you big time – whether it’s a principal residence or one for investment purposes.

What's your money story?  What did you learn from your family growing up and what do you wish you would have learned?  I'd love to hear from you!  Drop me a line at info@kelleykeehn.com.