Best money lessons learned at a young age  

With back-to-school season in mind, we polled our advisors to find out what money lessons they learned early on that stuck with them throughout their life. Below, five of our team members reminisce on what “lessons” started them on their path to financial success.

Michael Blehar, managing director, financial consultant

I was a little kid in the mid 60’s/70’s and like a lot of kids then, had an actual piggy bank. I loved getting that thing filled to the top so that no more coins could fit. I did chores to get money to put in the piggy bank, and scrounged up discarded pop bottles to take to the local grocery store for a nickel per bottle. When it was full, I’d empty it out, roll the coins, and take them to the bank to deposit the money in my passbook savings account. It was very satisfying to see that little bank account grow. I learned that pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters can really add up if you keep stashing them away.

Chuck Mattiucci, AIF, financial consultant

One of the best lessons I learned from my parents at a young age was to pay myself first. This lesson helped me to save money when I was younger and has stuck with me ever since. Also, another important lesson was to start saving early. Each year I would try to increase the amount I was saving even if only by a small amount. This created a habit and now is always top of mind if I have additional funds beyond my regular income.

Katharine Perry, CFP, financial consultant

Save, Save, Save. That dinner out, or pair of shoes wasn’t worth it. Beware of credit cards. It may seem great to have this “free money,” but it’s not free. The interest rates are typically too high to justify.

Chris Chaney, vice president, financial consultant

Spend in haste; repent at leisure. What do you do when the fires of desire are burning so brightly that they blind your reason? How can you begin to foster impulse control with your purchases?

Wait. Wait a day or a week. Wait until the desire has dimmed so you can gain clarity and perspective.  

Learn to do this and you will not only have found the key to a critical component of successful money management – controlling unnecessary expenses – but to self-mastery as well. Simply waiting will allow you to see that the thing you “just had to have” wasn’t really that important.

Bill Engel, CFP, financial consultant   

When I was in high school, I busted my tail mowing lawns – I had as many as 20 lawns that I mowed all by myself. Depending on the size of the lawn, I made as little as $17 or as much as $30. Some people paid with cash, others paid with check. I would keep all of the $1s and $5s for my spending money, and would deposit the $10s, $20s, and checks in my savings account. I eventually was able to put 20 percent down on my first house from the money I deposited in savings. The lesson was to save first, and to learn to only spend what was left over.