Money Mistakes You Learned As a Kid

Money Mistakes You Learned As a Kid

July 06, 2021

Childhood is all about life experiences, learning and developing from the good and bad, and eventually turning into a full-blown adult with responsibilities. And while most of us learned a lot from when we were younger, almost everyone develops a habit or two that should have been left back in the grade-school days.

Maybe it’s eating too much junk food, having a messy car, spending too much time on our phones or skipping the sunscreen when we go outside. All of this is completely normal, but the sooner we address it the better for our wellbeing.

Another thing that can spin from childhood?

Developing bad money habits, or unknowingly making money mistakes that started with your childhood allowance but have now transitioned to your adulthood salary. While not uncommon, the best time to address this and work on course correction is now. Here are a few financial mistakes you might still be making:

  • Making money a taboo topic

Back in the day, money wasn’t talked about. It was seen as disrespectful to discuss your finances with others. Nowadays it’s becoming more and more part of our daily conversations. Of course there is a fine line between an appropriate and an inappropriate conversations on this topic, but productive discussions on financial issues can lead to better education and therefore better decision making. Whether it’s sharing your advisor’s contact information with a friend, or discussing your thoughts on the market, it’s good to hear other perspectives and make well rounded decisions for yourself.   

  • Immediately turning to your credit card

When used correctly, credit cards can have a plethora of benefits. In fact, they’re the primary source of  payment around the world today. But the trouble comes if these credit cards aren’t paid off every month. If you were a user on your parent’s credit card as a child, and never saw them actually paying back your purchases it can be easy to rack up significant high interest debt without understanding the repercussions. 

  • Spending all of your cash

When you were little did you spend all of your allowance? If so, you’re not alone. Most kids that aren’t required by their parents to save some of that money end up spending it on toys, clothes and snacks. While $10 a week isn’t that much to spend, if it becomes a habit this can quickly spiral into a problem. Spending your allowance is one thing, but living beyond your means and spending your entire paycheck can have a lasting impact for years down the road. Not only will your savings account likely be lower than recommended, but should you face an emergency or an unexpected expense, resolving it can quickly lead to accumulation of debt.

  • Not setting financial goals

As adults, we have a plethora of financial goals we think about daily. Maybe it’s paying off that car loan, or saving for a trip, maybe it’s starting a family or retiring in 10 years. Most of us have multiple goals at a point in time and work towards them in increments. While some children do grow up saving money for the things they want, whether it be higher education or the new PlayStation, some kids don’t learn this valuable lesson early on and may find it more difficult when it really matters.


If you think your childhood may have contributed to any money mistakes, rest assured you’re not alone. The important thing is acknowledging them now and working on creating healthy financial habits that will last you a lifetime. Not sure where to start? Talk to your wealth advisor to come up with an actionable plan.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.