2. What kinds of behaviours around money did you observe in your parents that felt different than what you observed around you?
Joanna: For lack of a better term, I think it was respected more. And the sharing of it with someone else was a greater gesture of kindness. I think that also comes from the fact that we arrived here with literally a suitcase. One suitcase.
Jennifer: More caution. My parents hardly ever did anything for themselves. While friends’ parents went on trips, nice dinners, bought coffees, I never saw my parents treat themselves to anything. They often went the opposite route: cutting the rotting pieces off of bread, wearing clothes that were too old and torn, only buying what was on sale. They would occasionally treat my brother and I to unnecessary expenses like school trips and pizza lunches, but these rules did not apply to them.
Another behaviour I noticed as I got older was extreme caution with investments and savings. They did not pursue riskier portfolios. They wanted any saving to be liquid and secure.
My parents also made many financial decisions based on a scarcity/fear type mindset. What would happen to you if I died? (Repeated constantly, since I was 4) What would happen if there was a natural disaster or a fire? What would happen to you if x,y,z awful thing happened? I believe this was because they grew up in a war zone, then became boat people (my father was a political prisoner for a number of years), then had to survive in a refugee camp. They wanted money to provide the type of safety that they never really experienced.
Victoria: Behaviours around saving money had to do with groceries – buying in bulk when there was a sale, or waiting for a sale to buy a product that was needed, even when the savings seemed minimal, then buying so much of that product we’d end up with a year’s supply of aluminum foil or canned beans (for example)
Eddie: We only spent money on what we absolutely needed. Other people had cottages and went on vacations but we never did.