Thanks to some financial difficulties we have had within my family, three financial styles have developed. There are benefits and drawbacks to each.
- The style my mother has followed, which did contribute to the financial mess is that of instant gratification. You spend money to get things you think you want or need, but are not necessarily so. For instance, spending credit or lots of money on clothes or books. I have been guilty of this as well. This can lead to, as I said, instant gratification but also debt that can be hard to dig yourself out of.
- My sister and father, on the other hand, avoid loans and credit cards like the plague, as if their lives depended on it. They do pay bills on time and my dad has actually successfully helped heal my mother’s habits. However, my sister lives very frugally and almost spends money on anything. She saves almost everything in a normal, incredibly low-interest dividend account at our local credit union. A plus to this is that she is able to pay for her undergraduate mostly out of pocket and she probably has an excellent credit score because of this, but her money would be better in at least a high-interest checking account like Ally.com’s.
- I have a middle-ground of the two above. I work very hard to maintain this and check my finances on an obsessive daily scale (and I do mean obsessive). I have a budget, I save, I spend, and I pay bills without taking any loans except my credit card that I pay off each month. My credit score is a bit wobbly due to my learning how to use a credit card, but it has increased from the mid 670s to the mid 710s, which is nice. I always look for new ways to make money and for accounts that will help me, such as Ally Bank’s high-interest savings account.
There are benefits to each of these plans. Of course, with my bias, I believe mine is the best, but I do hope my sister and dad are able to pick themselves up and lead comfortable lives. I hope my mother is able to alter hers to do the same, and I hope to one day be rich enough so that any mistakes they make, I can help them with.
What is your financial style and how has it developed over the years?