Money Lessons from the Women in My Life
Written by Annastasia Liu

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

For me, Mother's Day is a great time to reflect on the important women in my life and let them know how much I appreciate them. I'm fortunate to be surrounded by strong and caring women who've taught me so much over the years, and many of those lessons were about money.

Here are a few lessons I've learned over the years that have helped shape my outlook on saving, spending and finances.

Money chats with my grandmother were and are a regular occurrence. When she immigrated to Canada from Jamaica, she worked a factory job, and while she didn't earn much, she was a diligent saver. Whenever she had the chance, she would work overtime to earn some extra income and save money. When I was just an infant, she opened up a savings account for me and would deposit a little bit of money into my account every month. When I was 12 years old, she gave me the little bank book with my banking information and showed me how much money she had saved for me all those years. She was the first person in my life that showed me what financial responsibility looked like and I'm thankful she did!

Open conversations about salary and savings goals with my close girlfriends have helped me a lot along my career journey and in life. A few years ago, we started discussing our salaries, investments and financial goals. I've gained great insight and perspective from our open dialogue and it helped me to be bold and seek out the compensation I deserve.

Taking the time to educate myself on financial matters has helped me be a better resource to my family over the years. While my grandmother taught me the basics about saving, I've become her unofficial resource for all things financial. She taught me how to save, and now I'm slowly teaching her about things like online banking. Now that she's getting older and needs a bit more help, I'm able to step in and make sure she's still making good decisions with her money.

Helping others can make a big impact. When I was starting university, a sweet older lady in my church who we called Aunt Ruth gave me $100 to help pay for textbooks. For a university student depending on student loans and a part-time income, this gesture meant so much to me and showed me the power of generosity. It also had a lasting impact on how much I give back and encouraged me to be more generous by sponsoring a child abroad and supporting local charities that are important to me.

Experiences matter! My mom took me to my first concert and one of our special things over the years was seeing different performances and shows live. We even saw Prince three times together! It wasn't about the best seats or spending a lot of money, but spending time together and doing something we loved. Concerts can get very pricey, but by saving a small amount throughout the year in a "Fun Fund" for experiences like this, we're able to prioritize something we love without spending money we don't have.

Resourcefulness is second nature for most single moms, and my mom was no exception. While we experienced some tough times as a family, her ability to stretch a dollar, provide for our family and always make ends meet was something I've always admired. From scouring grocery flyers for the best deals to finding budget-friendly activities for us to do over summer or March break, she never let her situation limit her.

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