Of the many ways we are shaped, I suspect few people would disagree that the imprint our parents make on us is the most enduring. I count myself among the fortunate in this regard. Both my parents were solid, steady, common sense people. They were loyal to each other, unreservedly devoted to their four children, hard working. I grew up feeling safe and cared for. Growing into adulthood, I felt supported in my choices.
Dad was born in 1918, Mom in 1920, making both of them adolescents during the worst years of the Great Depression. Growing up in those years profoundly shaped my parents. And the older I get, the more clearly I can see how their experiences during those difficult years were later imprinted on me and, how tenacious they remain to this day. I also see a similar imprint in both of my sisters and my brother. If your parents spent their formative years weathering the Great Depression, how much of yourself do you see in my story?
More than a few times over our forty-five years together, my wife has pointed out to me some of the ways this imprint shows up. Clothes retained far too long, burnt toast eaten instead of discarded, saving for multiple rainy days. Despite those extreme examples - and several others that could have been easily jettisoned years ago - this particular parental imprint has served me well. I never lived beyond my means, was always able to change when a job no longer suited me, saved enough - with my wife's help - to put a child through college debt-free.
As alluded to in the post above, I suspect I'll never fully escape some of the silliness attached to this parental imprint. There are certainly worse things. As always, I'm curious: Which of your strengths, weaknesses, or quirks - in the financial arena or otherwise - do you see as directly linked to a parental imprint?