Stephen Howard-Sarin, vice president, CBS Interactive (Business)
Lesson: Do the math — and if being comfortable isn’t going to get you where you need to be, then change tactics.
“As a kid, we saved money in a jar (literally) for months to buy my dad his 40th birthday present. Saving as a physical act was a powerful lesson for us kids, as was the satisfaction of buying something we never thought we could afford.
“My parents split up when my mom was in her late 40s. She moved into a ground-floor condo in a semi-hip metropolitan neighborhood — and she bought it outright. For the past 20 years, she’s been mortgage-free in a place she likes and can stay in well into her dotage. Now that was planning ahead.
“My mom had essentially no retirement savings when she started working in her 40s. She found a financial advisor she trusted completely, and she started saving aggressively. But even though it made her uncomfortable, she also allowed her advisor the leeway to invest aggressively. She knew that she had to make up for lost time.”
Rich Eisenberg, senior editor, CBS MoneyWatch
Lesson: If you’re fortunate enough to have money you can donate to charity, do so.
“When I was a child, my mother was very involved in a charity for cancer research. We would often stand outside supermarkets with cans, asking for donations — and she’d often note that the people who seemed least able to help were the most likely to give.”
Lynn O’Shaughnessy, blogger, CBS MoneyWatch
Lesson: Appreciate the power of an education.
“My mother, Jacquelin O’Shaughnessy, not only earned a bachelor’s degree, which was quite rare for a woman in the 1940s, but she also spent a few summers at the University of Wisconsin to earn her master’s degree in education. I was incredibly proud of my mother’s accomplishments, but she hated it when I bragged about her. She also disliked it when parents lobbied the principal at her elementary school in hopes that their children would be assigned to her coveted classroom.
“My mother stopped teaching before her oldest (that’s me) was born and soon enough she had a household of five kids born within six years of each other. She returned to teaching when I was heading to high school, so she and my dad could pay the college tab for all five of us. They paid the equivalent of 20 years of college costs at the University of Missouri without taking out a single loan.
“My mother and father’s selflessness allowed me to pursue my passion — journalism — and I will always, always be grateful.”
Megan Jordan, producer, CBS MoneyWatch
Lesson: Enjoy what you have, instead of worrying about what you don’t.
“My mom passed along this general attitude about money that I employ in all areas of my life.”
Marianne Wilman, executive producer, CBS MoneyWatch
Lesson: Avoid debt.
“My mother taught me to always avoid debt. A big fan of the odd splurge and always leading with high standards, she encouraged quality over quality, but always within my means. It has served me well, I think!”
Robert Pagliarini, blogger, CBS MoneyWatch
Lesson: Do what you have to do to survive, and don’t worry so much about stuff.
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