Money hoarding is the one type of hoarding behavior that is acceptable and even admired in our society. Like any other kind of hoarding (such as my tendency towards pantry hoarding), money hoarding creeps me out. I think Warren Buffett is a bit of a money hoarder. My dad is definitely a money hoarder as is one of my brothers.
If a money hoarder, instead of keeping their money in a bank account where it is unseen, stacked all of their money under mattresses or in a room or closet and obsessively counted it every day, would we not think it was a little weird? When I was growing up, we picked bottles and babysat to earn money. That money was then taken away from us and put in a bank account. I never bought anything in a store before I left home at 16 (actually only set foot into a store a couple of times before then). No wonder I went hog-wild with spending when I finally had control of my own money.
How to (hopefully not) raise a money hoarder
My youngest son shows signs of being a money hoarder. The oldest son is much more balanced. I’ve had to rein him in a few times and teach him how to save up for things. The youngest saves and saves with far-off plans for spending – like for a car that he could buy 10 years from now. He’s now switched his savings plan to have it go towards the acreage that I want to buy in the next few years. Hmmm…
In the past, I’ve encouraged his saving tendencies, thinking it was so cute to see it in such a small kid. Maybe it’s not so cute though.
Recently, we all went to the local bookstore to browse and sample the Starbucks holiday drink specials. The little guy wanted to buy an over-priced sharpener ($4.95), a pack of Smencils ($14.95) and an over-priced pack of Justin Beiber (ugh) branded rubber bands ($4.95). He brought them to me and told me he was going to buy them. I told him that he could buy the rubber bands and the sharpener at the dollar store and save almost $10. Off he went… with me thinking that he was going to put them back. He came back with all three items in a bag.
He told me that he got $10 off on the buy since the wrong price came up and so the store gave him $10 off under the Scanning Code of Practice. Hmm, apparently a 10 year old knows about these things that most adults don’t know about (you can blame me for that).
I asked to see the receipt. He crumpled it up and wouldn’t let me see it. My nose may have been clouded by the smell of root beer Smencils, but I smelled a lie.
The next day, I called my dad (the uber-money hoarder) and talked money a bit – as we always do, because he loves it so much. He may not have relationships with people, but he has his money to keep him happy. Got off the phone, googled money hoarding and found this reader story that I’d missed on Get Rich Slowly: Rich Dad, Stingy Dad.
I agreed with Jacob from ERE’s comment (#44) that the dad has different values than the child (who clearly wants to be more balanced) – or most people – but I’ll be damned if I’m going to nurture my kid INTO being more of a money hoarder than he already is by shaming him into not spending money that he’s earned on something that he really loves.
So what’s this particular parent, who still struggles with feeling guilty about spending money on herself, going to do?
Get that miserly kid the bank account that he asked for for Christmas, put half of his money in there, and keep my big mouth shut the next time he wants to spend anything.