Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A story of my parents

A post at MightyBargainHunter gave me pause. The post is a discussion of parents holding control over their minor child's finances. I haven't discussed my family history too much on this blog, simply because I've tried hard to move on from that aspect of my life. However, the post sparked some thoughts.

When I was young, I hated to spend my own money. I'd happily spend other people's money, and by and large, my parents would buy me stuff to make up for their other failings. But I can still remember the first purchase I made, a $30 Timex digital waterproof watch, when I was 11, and I agonized over the purchase for weeks. I saved all birthday and Christmas money, as well as any extra money I got from allowances, grandparents, etc. My grandparents on both sides would also regularly purchase savings bonds. All this money went into a savings account, and by the time I was ready to go off to college, it had well over $25,000 in it.

Or, it should have. There wasn't a single cent in it. My parents were never good with their finances, and they took the money without telling me. I might have been more willing to accept their need, had it not gone to finance my father's prostitution fixation.

How differently would life had turned out for me if I had a cushion for when my life turned upside down and I ended up in the hospital? If I had that money now, I could be completely debt free, with a bit to spare.

That being said, if my parents had been the type to not need to raid their child's savings, my medical crisis probably wouldn't have led to the financial crisis as well.

But maybe the most significant thing I think my parents "did" to me is maybe the least tangible. When I get into some sort of trouble, either of my own making, or something that was out of my control, I'm really bad about asking for help. I panic, and usually make decisions that end up making the problem worse. Admitting mistakes, even if they weren't my own, was always a recipe for trouble, and I never really learned how to reach out.

That's not to say that my situation isn't my responsibility, it is. I had a lot of young and stupid moments, as well as some really immature decisions. I'm working on it...


  1. Your parents fucked up major! They should just go into a cave and die. Sorry but I'm so angry at what they did! I never touch my kids money, ever! No matter how bad we struggled, it was the only thing I held onto when things got bad. The fact that my kids would have a buffer if things went wrong for them.

    Hugs to you! Everybody has to make mistakes to learn, don't beat yourself up over it. You already have enough to deal with:)

    Take care of yourself,


  2. My mother did the same thing. I had various relatives give me money and savings bonds and my mother cashed them in at our local bank without my signature or authorization (the bank manager was a friend). She told me she lost the bonds when she moved house, she did not realize I could track the bonds via the Dept of Treasurys lost bond web site. Your experience is almost the exact same one I had.