They say your first memory of money shows you how you feel about money. And obviously how you feel about money has a lot to do with how you deal with it. If your first memory of money is of making someone happy by giving them an expensive gift you might find that you are quite generous, maybe even to the point that you give to the detriment of your own future. If your first money memory is of feeling like you have less than others then maybe you feel like you are owed something, or that you have to prove that you have the best of everything.
Whether you subscribe to this theory or not, I still think it’s an interesting exercise.
My very first money memory is of my parents laughing because they couldn’t leave change around the house. I was about three years old and any time I saw any money lying around I would put it in my piggy bank. Clearly I’ve been a saver since day one. My next solid money memory was when I was about 10. I had been visiting my dad and found a jar of change. He said if I rolled it myself I could keep it. You know I was all over that!
It came to about $40 which for me was a lot of money. As a side note: I took all that rolled change home with me, on an airplane, in my carry-on. Can you imagine getting through security with $40 in rolled pennies today? And why didn’t my dad take me to the bank and get cash? But anyways, I remember how rich I felt. At that age the only place I ever spent any money was at the local penny candy store. My friends and I would walk the mile to this tiny little store and spend 30 minutes deciding how to best spend our $1. I had enough money to last me through the whole summer! I definitely had more money than my friends, and that made me feel in control.
Both my memories have to deal with having money, as opposed to not having money. This started me off with positive feelings about money. Add that in to my natural inclination to save and I had a good starting point in my life with money.
What about you? What was your first money memory and do you think it affected your attitude towards money?