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?