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Recently many people have spoken to me about their attitude towards money. In case of people I know for the past 30-40 years, largely the impact of their childhood on their ‘money-psyche’ has been of tremendous importance. Having said that, attitude towards money is not always the same even for siblings. My sister and me have different attitudes towards money.

It is possible that my sister has taken after my father and I have taken after my mother. So how you treat money depends on your early (would say first) memory of money. When you were say 7-9 years old your parent may have asked you to buy some household item. Was that your first memory of money? Rarely would elders remember ‘money’ related incidents before the age of 7, but I am no child psychologist.

Similarly did money make you happy or sad? Did you get it when you wanted it? For elders to have a ‘happy mindset’ or ‘abundant mindset’ a happy money childhood is necessary. In case of couples where one has had a happy money memory and the other person has had a sad money memory, there is a lot of ‘money’ related friction. Also how much of your cultural heritage is related to money? Is it possible that you belonged to a ‘education oriented family’ which thought money was the root cause of all evil?

Or did you belong to a business family where ‘Lakshmi (Indian Goddess of Wealth) Pooja was the most important pooja where the whole family participated. In case of ‘brahminical’ families where talking about money was considered to be ‘taboo’ even the adults find it difficult to handle success (as in money). There is a ‘guilt’ feeling that ‘my riches have come by depriving someone else’!

During your school days how important was money in the decision making process? Did your parents fight about money? Did one parent give you money without telling the other parent? Was there financial congruence amongst your parents or did they find it difficult to agree on anything. Did you get a feeling that one parent was willing to splurge while the other cringed? How did your attitude about which parent was right change after you started running your own family.

Did the hero and villain change completely after you matured? All these questions are actually chiseling and sculpting your views on money. Did your parent change jobs or change location for money? Was the breadwinner ever unemployed – and did it have any impact on the family life style? Have you seen your parent ask his friends or his parent for financial help? Were you old enough to understand the implication? Did your career choice depend on what fees you parent could afford? Historically did your grandparents belong to the same social strata as you do today?

What happened to your parents during the difficult times? Was it communicated that ‘now times are difficult, so we will change our lifestyle’ or did it not happen? The way the parents communicated about money also plays an important role. If you were told ‘Go and take money from my purse’ you are likely to have a more abundant attitude than if you were told ‘give me account of what you did with the Rs. 24 I gave you last week’. Asking children to keep track of their money is a great habit, but if it becomes an obsession – and they are constantly ticked off for ‘being irresponsible’ by splurging, it can backfire.

Oh there are more posts to come..regarding ‘attitude towards money’ ….not sure when

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  1. KalpK your first line and second line ….hmmm frankly i find better stuff online and not in the print media…one day somebody may put this in the print media 🙂

  2. I remember ………………..a long time ago…………
    My parents & I sat down and discussed my monthly “allowance” Once that was fixed for the year, I had to spend from that…… i think a great way to instill spending discipline

  3. great topic and as you say lots more to come..
    methinks the aversion to money is less “brahminical” and more socialist. After all artha is one of the four goals of life, of course thats wealth and not money.Truly fiscal conservatism whether enforced by parents or enforced by circumstances is a good thing for children!

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