“Aint a woman alive that can take my mama’s place”–Tupac Shakur
Mothers are without a doubt invaluable to life as we know it. The importance of the role they play can never be understated from infancy all the way up through adulthood. And while the presence of a mother is one that is continued to be felt for generations to come, the lessons we learn from them on a daily basis become the foundation for success. One of the main areas that often gets modeled right before our eyes is how to manage our finances and more importantly how we relate to money. So here are some of the top financial lessons from a mother that help shape the narrative of how to best handle our finances.
#1) Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees
While this phrase may sound a little odd given the appearance of U.S. currency, it does contain some deeply rooted motherly wisdom. Mothers ultimately help teach us that when we handle money like it’s an unlimited resource we often end up paying a huge price tag in the future. Whether that means being unprepared for retirement, lacking resources to pay for higher education, or simply overspending our budget, the principle is still the same. If you spend without saving or investing you will go broke. Additionally, this is why we so often hear mothers stress the importance of valuing time over money; because once time is gone you will never successfully get it back. Some additional lessons that can be passed down to future generations include understanding the difference between financial wants and needs, and learning to budget at least 10% of income towards savings.
#2) Put Something Away For A Rainy Day
Mothers often help teach us that life’s emergencies don’t come with appointments but usually require immediate attention. So when the car breaks down, the roof leaks, or there’s an unexpected sickness you can almost guarantee that it will occur at the worst possible time. From a financial standpoint what this means is that you must not only anticipate these things happening, but you must have the necessary funds set aside to cover their expenses. Furthermore it’s long been proven that the best way to prepare for these rainy days is by having an adequately funded emergency savings account. Most financial experts suggest a minimum of 3-6 months of your expenses saved up in order to reach this point. One additional lesson mothers can pass down is to take advantage of your employer’s Health Savings Account and/or Flexibile Spending Acccount for purposes of their little known tax benefits.
#3) Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You
Whether it’s in the classroom or the boardroom mothers usually teach us that it’s best to give more than the minimum effort required. Said differently, if we have the ability to get an A on a school project why settle for B if that wasn’t our best effort? Or if we have the ability to help others and it’s not to our own detriment, why not do so? These same principles can also be applied to how we manage our finances, our credit, and our charitable giving. More specifically when it comes to paying off credit cards and other forms of debt it’s usually best to pay more than the minimum due because of compounding interest. Meaning the longer it takes to repay debt the more interest we end up paying on top of the principal balance we already owe. Additionally, when we give back financially to our own communities, our own places of worship, and our own businesses we help to empower others financially. Mothers can also help teach future generations that giving doesn’t just include money but our time, our energy, and our talents which are just as important.
Since fathers also help teach such valuable lessons and more we must be sure to never minimize their role in our lives. However, with research showing that nearly half of black children end up living with a single mother, it is extremely important that we celebrate the role they play in our community. And as more progress is made in reversing the trend of single parenthood for people of color we must be sure to also emphasize economic empowerment. This is how we can best apply all of the priceless wisdom and sacrifices passed by great mothers everyday.