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In the second of our series ‘What did your parents teach you about money?’, Nick Agwuncha, co-founder of Money Medics, shares what he’s learnt from his community members. Money Medics is an infotainment platform that aims to educate millennials on all aspects of personal finance by taking a lifestyle approach to growing their money via social media.


My financial culture growing up was comparable to an economic cycle, as in there were a few peaks and troughs when it came to my parents’ finances. When I was a young child, my mother was a care assistant and my father was a budding entrepreneur. But my mother quickly realised that upskilling herself could lead to a higher-paying job. She attended evening classes and soon after, was able to join an investment banking programme.

In my teens my parents invested a significant proportion of their money in sending me to boarding school. However, when my mother was about to make a career change to practice law, she fell ill and that dream got caught short. My parents did not want me to fret over money at such a young age, but it was hard not to as I could sense the impact of our severely reduced household income.

My mother did recover, but things continued to get tighter. Fast forward a decade later there were a few more financial shocks as both my parents were made redundant a few months apart from each other. The fluctuations in my parents’ finances birthed interesting stories and taught me a lot about money.

I asked the Money Medics community on Instagram to share their own financial culture growing up and the lessons they learned from their parents, I felt I could relate to many of their experiences.

Jasmin Harsono

Jasmin Harsono
@emeraldandtiger

“My parents ran two businesses, a delicatessen and restaurant. Over time both businesses went bust and we lost our family home. Years later my Father, due to many reasons but mainly because he was so distraught that he could not provide for us, took his life. My Mum, left with five children, had a full-time job and bought us a new family home. For many years as a teenager and early adult I had a live for the moment money mindset.”

I can relate to Jasmin’s financial trauma as a child as my family had to make significant cutbacks when my mother fell sick and this experience shaped my scarcity money mindset. The emotions of having to cut back earlier on in life led me to overspending during my university days. People say the mentality “you only live once” and “live for today, not for tomorrow” is a term used to describe millennials but I disagree. I believe it comes from your childhood experiences as Rubin suggests.

Rubin Eversley

Rubin Eversley
@rkevisuals

“My parents didn’t have much money so I was told not to waste money... Although once I got money I went against that to make up for the time that I had lost as a kid. I have since calmed down and realised that what they was telling me made sense.”

Emmanuel Asuquo

Emmanuel Asuquo
@theemaneffectuk

In order to change your mindset, consider areas of your life where you’re struggling to cover needs and important wants. Emmanuel Asuquo believes one of the first steps to gaining control of your finances is:

“Understanding the importance of what I needed vs what I wanted. I needed trainers but I didn’t need or get branded ones.”

I started to realise that I was spending extra on wants that seemed pretty unimportant compared to other things in life, such as getting onto the property ladder.

Childhood money worries can leave you operating under the sense that money is scarce so when it is available you need to spend it, but this doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone.

As Laura Moore says:

Laura Moore

Laura Moore
@laura_ann_moore

“I was exposed to my parents’ financial issues from a young age (I remember being told we couldn’t afford to go on holidays abroad anymore). This awareness made me fear being in bad debt - the reason why I’m more of a saver than a spender.”

Even when I started earning a healthy income I felt like money needed to be spent now before it disappeared. The money lessons you learn from your parents can really shape your financial future.

For Alexis Owudey learning how to save early paid off:

Alexis Owuadey

Alex Owuadey
@misslexington

“My parents instilled the importance of saving into me from a very young age, and it has stuck with me ever since. Being comfortable with setting and meeting savings goals has allowed me to invest in assets and buy my first property at 23.”

Maybe if I understood the principle of delayed gratification I would have bought my first property at the same age as Alexis. I did eventually buy my first property at 25 which was down to the encouragement of Eve, my wife (another co-founder of Money Medics) who essentially taught me the act of giving money to my future self through saving.

The value of saving was something that was talked about a lot about by other community members.

Linda Ayoola

Linda Ayoola
@asklychee

“Growing up was tough as we didn’t always have enough. I was always taught the value of saving and not spending excessively and living in between your means. I hated debt because I never wanted to feel like I owe anyone anything that could potentially take away.”

Kei Maye

Kei Maye
@kei_maye

“Money was almost always spoken about negatively. Always regarded as something that will run out forever so we must save now!”

Not all debt is bad. Debt can be used to boost your overall income or wealth. I think the debt that Linda refers to adds little value to your long term prosperity e.g. splurging on your credit card for designer goods. My parents were advocates of good debt. They encouraged me to go to university so I could get a good job regardless of the student loan debt but they never talked about income streams outside of my 9 - 5. This is why I found Dr Ewoma’s story so intriguing:

Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe

Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe
@drewomaukeleghe

“My parents normalised the multiplication of money and the power of having multiple streams of income. Growing up, I never saw my dad work for anyone else (he was a successful entrepreneur), and my mum made her passion a side hustle before it was even a thing.“

The one thing that has stuck with me is that your parents don’t need to sit you down to teach you money lessons but that they can show you implicitly through their actions.

Even with the best intentions in the world it is very difficult to predict whether those lessons will damage or help your financial future, but as you embark on your own journey as an adult the responsibility lies with you to develop a healthy relationship with money.

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