The Family Black Sheep and the Effect on My Finances

The Family Black Sheep and the Effect on My Finances

The Family Black Sheep and the Effect on My Finances

I have always been a bit different from my family.  I come for a family of 4 siblings.  I am the second oldest, my brother is older than me and I have two younger sisters.  I designate myself as the family black sheep.  I feel a bit outcasted and alienated from the rest of the family, because I am so different from them, but I’m happy with the life I am living.

laid back parenting and rebellion

My mom, bless her heart, was quite laid back in terms of parenting, and I always used to push the boundaries.  She had a lasez faire parenting style.  My dad wasn’t very involved in parenting and thought that if he brought home the bacon and put a roof over our head and food on the table that was good enough.

My mom said I was the most rebellious of the children.  I remember she found a pack of cigarettes in my room and she tickled me.  I was only smoking occasionally to look cool in high school.  Somehow that worked because it weirded me out and didn’t want to smoke again.  I never had a curfew.  I tried to run away from home once in high school and then realized that $50 wasn’t going to get me a hotel room to stay in overnight in downtown.  I sheepishly took the bus back home.  I had boyfriends starting in high school whereas my sisters who are in their late 20’s and early 30’s haven’t had a boyfriend yet.

My mom always said not to work during high school because we should concentrate on school.  I got a job as soon as I was legally allowed to work and worked throughout high school and university.  My siblings did not work throughout high school and even through university.  I always wanted to get a job because it gave me freedom.  We didn’t get an allowance but did get a bit of money if we brought home A’s on our report card.

My dad wasn’t very involved. As mentioned, he felt his role was the bring home the bacon and that was pretty much it.  He did teach me how to ride a bicycle and tried to teach me how to swim.  He would sit and watch television and the nightly news after dinner.

My parents tried to shelter me but I didn’t want to be sheltered.

Perhaps nature vs nurture sometimes manifests itself as rebellion against ‘nurture’ where I rebelled against the lassez faire parenting style and developed a very productive, disciplined, structured, and time managed way of living my lifestyle.

financial black sheep

I would say I am the most independent out of my siblings.  I moved out, bought my own home, got married, and have a child of my own.  I have the highest paying job compared to my siblings as well.  My brother completed a law degree but he doesn’t work.  My siblings (millennials) still live at home with my mom (and she still pays for their cell phone bills).  When I spend time with my mom, sometimes I feel like I am nagging at her and giving her parenting advice (you know, like telling her she should start by stop paying for the cell phone bill), which I know I should not do.  I tell my mom that my siblings will appreciate her more once they move out and realize how much work she does for them.  She still does their laundry and cooks for them.

Being the black sheep of the family has affected my finances, I have always adopted a continual learning approach and learned how to invest, learned how to save money, and learned how to grow my money.  I worry that my siblings will not want to take care of my parents and worry that the ‘sandwich pressure’ of taking care of my parents will fall onto me, hence the motivation to be financially independent sooner rather than later.

spending time with family is bittersweet

I suppose when many people spend time with their family of origin, it is bittersweet.  That’s how it feels for me.  I am honestly sad that they don’t include me with their family vacations or small weekend trips, or even when the spend time together on the weekend, but I’m pretty busy now with a family of my own who we will teach our own money values.  Sometimes I wish we were more similar and likeminded and had more of a connection.  I know that I have a family of my own to concentrate on now, and I’ve found a like-minded partner (Mr GYM) who shares my values and I feel very fortunate for that.

When I do try to spend time with my family, I sometimes feel frustrated, for one, they often are not respectful of my time (or really anyone’s time) because they are often late for 20-30 minutes when we make reservations for a meal (even on my birthday).  That makes me sad because a lot of people are happy when they spend time with family.  I know that I can’t change them but I can only change myself.  Sometimes I am sad that I have such a dysfunctional family but perhaps it has made me who I am, in a way.

take away points when you don’t fit in

You are your own person and you are responsible for yourself (and your new family).  I can only control my own behaviour.  I can’t control them or how they choose to act.  If they choose to invest in mutual funds despite my suggestion not to, that’s their decision.  I can’t get my siblings interested in personal finance or DIY investing if they aren’t interested in it.

It also helps when I meet them individually instead of as a group and this helps me connect more.  They are less likely to be late, and more accountable for being responsible for their time.

Readers, do you sometimes feel you are the black sheep of the family?

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About genymoney

GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle.

30 comments on “The Family Black Sheep and the Effect on My Finances

  1. I have always believed you are your own person and responsible for yourself and your immediate family. I don’t worry to much about other family as long as we are polite and civil to one another. My wife and raising the kids are my main focus.

    • @Steve- Thank you for sharing 🙂 Yes, I’m starting to realize that.. I suppose it is quite the transition to have my own family now!

  2. As the eldest child, I didn’t feel a responsibly to being a ‘role model’ to my younger sister and brother until I hit my early 30s. Up until that point, I felt that I didn’t give enough effort to give both of them advice on anything from life to relationships. All three of us were independent which wasn’t ideal because we were all doing our own thing and was not communicating enough.
    Now with me having my own family, sister being married and brother still living with our parents, I think we have a stronger connection because I think we all know that our parents are getting older and with Baby with Cents joining the family we all feel enjoying each other’s time is important. So we like talking to each other about our family adventures, my sister’s vacations with her husband, reminiscing when we were kids and playing with Baby with Cents when we’re at my parents house on the weekends.
    So hopefully your siblings come around as well and know that spending time with each other is important.
    Kris recently posted…Giving RecognitionMy Profile

    • @Kris- Awee yes, babies really can help bring family together! That’s great that you are having family time. In my case, my sisters don’t seem super interested in baby GYM (I think maybe because they don’t want children or haven’t gone to that life stage yet where they have relationships so can’t relate? I don’t know). I’ve been trying to get family time with my family of origin but it’s been a bit hard since my sisters are out on the weekends all the time and not home. I hope they come around too! 🙂

  3. Good for you! Recognizing your own autonomy and rising above your family situation is a big deal and is very hard for many people. It’s also hard to admit when we can’t fix or help the people we love who don’t want to be helped. Every family is dysfunctional in their own ways, some are just less willing to admit it. You just keep doing you!

    • @Femme Cents- Thanks girl! 🙂 Yeah, it was difficult to get here and to come to this realization, I even spoke to a counsellor about my family of origin because it was so distressing (among other things related to my family of origin which I will share in a later post).

  4. Hey GYM, nice post thanks for letting us into your personal world. I feel you on feeling like the black sheep in your family. Just know that with time life changes and relationships can morph over the years. No family is ever perfect so make sure you are not hard on yourself. It is okay to be different as well it is important to live a life that you are proud of instead of trying to mold and live a life your parents/siblings might be proud of.
    Damn Millennial recently posted…Market Monday: Cyber Monday Sales Set to Hit $6.59 BillionMy Profile

    • @Damn Millennial- Thank you for this motivational comment! 🙂 Relationships really do morph, some for the better, some for the worse. It can be bittersweet.

  5. Hey GYM, Very thoughtful and timely post given many of us spent time with our families over Thanksgiving. I also think most of us can relate to your situation. My family dynamics are different than yours, but I can’t help but feeling a bit alienated at times like you. Also agree that time spent individually with my family members is better. Less negative family dynamics come into play than when we are all together. Gosh. Very interesting stuff. Tom
    Tom @ Dividends Diversify recently posted…Should You Invest in the Stock Market Now?My Profile

    • @Tom @ Dividends Diversify- I didn’t mean for it to be timed like that, but that IS good timing hah. Families can really stir up a lot of feelings and I find it a good time for reflection. I’ve been trying to spend time individually with my mom and siblings, but one of my sisters wanted to make sure my mom was around. We fall back into the same patterns of behaviour that we are accustomed to oftentimes, when the larger family is all together.

  6. Hey GYM, I’m an only child, but am very close to people with similar dynamics.

    As to one of your points, I’ve been very surprised to see that, indeed, laissez-faire parents can produce children who are the opposite – very disciplined and structured. I still don’t understand how that dynamic develops (my own parents were somewhere in the middle between laissez faire and helicopter parenting), but I have people very close to me who turned out in exactly that way.

    Second, from what I’ve seen, it’s definitely common for the most financially successful siblings in multi-kid families to wind up shouldering more than their share of the burden of caring for aging parents. How I’ve seen it work is that the “poorer” siblings (who oftentimes can resent their “richer” siblings’ success) take a laid-back approach, making the successful siblings feel compelled to step in. It doesn’t seem like the best dynamic, because it puts a heavy burden on those siblings.

    Again, I’m an only child and don’t have direct experience with this, but I’ve seen others live it from up close.

    • @Miguel- Thanks for visiting and sharing your experiences. I think very strict parents can raise children who end up being very laissez faire with their parenting styles too. My friend whose dad was very strict with him (very strict curfews, physical punishment as a child, no fun or sleepovers with friends) ended up being a pretty laissez faire dad. He is a ‘softie’ and spoils his 20-something daughters (bought them each an iPhone X for Christmas).

      Yes that sounds about right, about this undercurrent of resentment. The middle sister makes some weird comments to me (usually snide remarks or little jabs that come off as mean comments) whenever I visit my mom’s house. Ughh I’m not looking forward to the future when I will have to shoulder the burden of taking care of my aging parents.

  7. Hey GYM!

    This was a different type of post and I can relate w/ you here. I feel like the black sheep too! I can see that at least your family invests in MF, but no one in mine gets what investing is. They never want to listen to me bc I’m still a 6-year old in their eyes.

    I’m concerned bc they don’t have any savings for retirement. They’ve been living pay-check-to-paycheck all this time. I try to give them advice but they don’t listen because they don’t think it’s impossible to save and invest w/ a low wage. Yet at times I see them buy random things that they don’t even need or use lol. I really believe they could’ve done way better! It’s frustrating to teach them, but can’t do anything if I can’t change their mindset.

    And because they complain about being poor, I’ve been putting pressure on myself. They never ask me for help (in fact, they help me because they invite my fiancé and I over for dinner), but I want to help them w/ their money so badly. If I can’t, I’d feel like a complete failure and a bit useless to them. I’ve even tried to give them my year-end bonus money so they can invest it in their TFSA to see how far it can go, but it ends up getting spent 😂. I really want to help w/ their retirement but they seem like they’re “meh” about it. Sigh…🤦‍♀️

    Growing up, the only advice they gave me was to “get a good paying job and buy a house. Then you will be rich and have a good life.” I’m glad I didn’t take this advice. I’m glad that I learned personal finance on my own because if not, I probably would’ve been spending above my means regardless how much I make.

    Btw I also feel sad when they don’t invite me to some of their family outings w/ my 18-year-old sister lol… they stopped when I moved out 3 years ago, but ohh well… at least they invite me to their house haha!
    fin$avvypsnda @ recently posted…10 New Year’s Resolutions that Will Improve Your Finances for 2018My Profile

    • @FSP- When you mean ‘they don’t ask for help’ and they have you and your fiancee (congrats btw!) over for dinner, do you mean your parents or your siblings? (if it’s your parents that IS very worrisome because they don’t have enough for retirement and are living pay cheque to pay cheque and retirement is probably pretty close for your parents!) That’s very very generous of you to give your year end bonus! I prefer not to give any monetary large gifts to my siblings as I don’t want to set them up to expect that just because they are my siblings I am going to give them money. My mom that’s a different story though- I did buy her an iPad mini earlier this year (crap that stuff is $$). Yeah, maybe some of these feelings I have (feeling left out) is related to not being in the same household anymore and ‘starting my own family’. Perhaps these are normal??? That’s good you’re not booted out of the house yet!

      • Haha, sorry I wasn’t clear on that one — it’s my parents that don’t ask for help financially. My young sis is still young. She turns 19 this year and she still lives w/ them.

        And no, my parents never wanted me out the house. But my fiancé and I decided it was to time live together 3 years ago (bf then) lol. So he stopped renting and I moved out from my parents when we bought our house.

        And yes, I’m worried about my parents’ retirement because they never really invested all these years. Even if they have some investments, it’s in high fee MFs that’s not even close enough to helping them (peanut amount). They were always in a pay check to pay check situation.

        They are about a decade away from retirement. That’s why I always want to help, but I haven’t figured out how yet (though I tried all these years by telling them to invest and to automate a fixed % of saving first before spending). When I talk to my parents about this stuff and building a nest egg for them, my dad thinks I’m crazy. Lol, his mentality is the poor (lower wage workers) get poorer, and the rich get richer… or, that the “poor” can only get rich from the lottery. So building a financial future never crossed their minds. They pretty much gave up before trying. 😩
        fin$avvy panda @ recently posted…Fail-Proof Ways to Pay Off Our Debt in 2018My Profile

          • @finsavvypanda- Haha, we have a lot in common! We bought our moms iPads, we love Warren Buffett, we love the colour aqua (judging from your refurbished furniture pics), we bought a home with boyfriends (except my relationship didn’t work out lol). You’re like the younger version of me on the East Coast!

        • @finsavvypanda- Awe your sister is so young!! It must be nice to have such a big sis to look up to. Have you showed your parents the graph of compound interest? (because that stuff is so convincing lol). I think it’s hard to teach your parents though because parents are accustomed to not listen to their children.

  8. Im only the black sheep when it comes to finances. Money wasn’t talked about at home, and we went through some rough times growing up but we made it lol. We are also 4 siblings and all developed a different personality when it comes to finances. The oldest will stay broke if it means he can spend money on someone else. The second oldest will only buy things if they are expensive. The youngest just buys everything and anything he can get his hands on.

    I am the only one with any notion of saving, which earned me the ‘cheap brother’ moniker. I used to get annoyed at it, but at this point, they have all kind of seen it works. I still get some push back every now and then “If you retire early you’ll hate it”… but they also come to me a lot with questions on finances… Bittersweet is right lol.
    Gabe at The Shiny Dollar recently posted…Your Primary House Is an InvestmentMy Profile

    • @Gabe- Good to know I’m not alone!! I was feeling alone! Well, cheap brother = successful brother so there! That push back sounds a bit like jealousy ‘if you retire early you’ll hate it’ but at least you feel open enough to tell your brothers that you plan to retire early? I don’t think I’ve ever had that discussion with my sisters.

  9. I’m an only child so that, combined with the fact that most of my family lives overseas and we don’t often see them, means that there aren’t really any black sheep in the family.

    My parents taught me early on the importance of being responsible with money and I’ve followed in their path pretty well…if I hadn’t then I likely would have got a dose of shame but you get a little more leeway as an only child 😉
    Sarah | Smile & Conquer recently posted…One Small ThingMy Profile

  10. I am definitely the black sheep of my family and I am glad that I am. Otherwise, I would not be where I am today. It’s difficult to accept that you were born to the same parents and you are polar opposites with your siblings.

    I learned to accept that I am different from my siblings and I have the drive to succeed and to challenge myself to be the best that I can be. I don’t accept the status quo. So being the black sheep in the family is not all bad.
    Leo T. Ly recently posted…Are You Aware Of These Money Scams?My Profile

  11. Story of my life. Interacting with my family does feel like an exercise in frustration. The age difference between me and my sibling doesn’t help, I’m 8 yrs and 14 yrs older than my two siblings. Even if we were closer in age I think they’re woudl still be a huge distance between us. I internalized the dysfunction in my family in a way neither of my siblings did, in a way that caused me to be incredibly motivated to be self reliant and independent, drive that my two other siblings just don’t have. I wasn’t too worried about our distance growing up but now that I’m in my 30’s and still single, I more and more wish my siblings and I were closer. Work in progress, sending them pf articles that I think they need to read doesn’t quite seem to be doing the trick. Seems like we’ll actually have to talk about feelings and shit…

    • @alana- Wow that’s a huge age gap! So they are in their 20’s and one is a teenager or young adult. I think at that age they probably aren’t too interested in pf, but when they do eventually become interested, at least they know you will be a wealth of information! My I send my sisters articles on pf and they don’t seem interested either (and we are 5 years apart max).

  12. Wow great post! I’m the oldest sibling and the most responsible one. My sis had it easy and so did my brother because he was the only boy. Coming from a Filipino family, I was put in charge a lot of the times and had to watch over my siblings. In a way, I’m glad with the way my parents raised me, learning responsibility at a young age taught me many life lessons as I got older. Till this day, they are both still living at home.

    • @Melanie- Thanks for sharing your experience being the black sheep too! I wonder if there’s correlation between PF bloggers and siblings status 🙂 Good for you for moving out and starting your own family!

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