Relearning Personal Finance Lessons From My Dominican Grandmother & Teaching Them To My Kids

Estimated read time 3 min read

Growing up in a poor neighborhood of Santo Domingo there was no talk of how to handle money or classes parents could take to improve their knowledge, let alone teaching children about it. However, there are many personal finance lessons I learned from my grandmother that are so simple, yet so crucial to keep our money in check. This year, I’m going back to basics and also teaching my kids in the process.personal-finance-lessons-from-my-grandmother

Before sharing some of those important personal finance lessons, I have to tell you about the many mistakes I’ve made since moving to the United States almost 13 years ago. During my adult years in Santo Domingo I never had to administer money, I had great jobs and lived in my paternal house until the year before I moved to the US. I never even thought about paying bills and managing credit, or saving for retirement and dealing with taxes.

Not only I moved to a different kind of economy, I also quickly joined the credit train and since I was living at my sister’s house, having credit cards was easy, I really didn’t have many responsibilities and little by little I put aside the personal finance lessons my grandmother had taught us. The beginning of the next chapter was also relatively easy as my husband and I moved to New York City and soon had high paying jobs. 

Still, I continued to ignore my good judgement and those personal finance lessons that served my grandmother so well in the most difficult times we experienced when I was a kid. Needless to say that I learned a new lesson the hard way: never forget the lessons of the past.

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3 Personal Finance Lessons I’m Passing Down To My Kids

  1. Pay on time. As an entrepreneur, my grandmother knew the value of a good customer. That’s why she made sure to pay her bills on time, also to avoid paying recharges or not to make another small vendor like herself come by to not get paid. Paying on time is one of the best ways of not wasting money; too many times I’ve paid late fees just because I forgot to make the payment.

  2. Keeping things in order. Although there was no taxation in DR back then the way we have it in the United States, she valued having the paperwork in order. We all know how tedious doing the tax return can be, is something we need to do, but many dread doing it. In the past, I’ve waited for the last minute, I have even been late just trying to avoid the process. That was until my sister introduced me to Turbotax and explained how easy it is to do the refund by using them. Since then, my sister and I sit together and do our refunds on time, and that’s one less thing to worry about.

  3. Use your money wisely. In her own way, my grandma always showed us how to manage money. Her strategy was budget, invest and save, or ‘hay que guardar pan para mayo’, like she will always tell us, to highlight the importance of not spending all the money we have. With tax season being around the corner, I am reminded of these personal finance lessons to make sure that instead of spending, we will be investing our refund to make it work for us longer.


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Disclosure: This post is my submission for the #TurboTaxMeLlevaContest from WeAllGrow Latina and Turbotax. All of my opinions are my own and were not edited by any third party.

[dania]

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