Passing Values About Money From One Generation to the Next

My dad is always joking about winning the lottery. For as long as I can remember he’s said, “when I win the lotto I’ll pay off your house and your brother’s.”

In all the years I’ve never stepped back to reflect on the sentiment of his statement, but tonight my mom pointed out the selflessness of it. If my dad had all the money in the world he would pay off all of our mortgages, which is the only debt my brother and I have.

Most people dream of winning the lottery so they can take extravagant trips around the world, buy expensive cars and eat from the finest establishments. Not my dad. My dad wants to make certain that we free ourselves from the burden of a mortgage.

For about as long as I can remember my father has told my brother and I how he paid off his house in only seven years. At the time my mom stayed home with my brother and I so we lived only on my father’s income as a state employee.

My dad vowed to pay off the house as soon as he could so our family would never worry about being homeless. As long as we had enough money to pay the property taxes our home would always provide shelter for us.

In order to pay off their house my mom lived with outdated bathrooms and run down kitchen appliances. In fact, I think their first home upgrade occurred well after I left for college. She never asked for much and what money they did have was typically spent on me and my brother.

It’s amazing how children learn values. Without my father ever specifically telling us how to manage our finances both my brother and I now follow in his footsteps. We both have the goal of paying off our homes as soon as possible. My husband and I hold a 15 year mortgage while my brother opted for 20. For us comfort comes from knowing that we will mortgage free by the time we reach our 40s and 50s.

For us life is not about champagne tastes and caviar dreams. It’s about being financially stable and comfortable with what we have. I’m sure it seems boring to most people, but it feels like the ultimate dream to me.

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