Family Financial Influence Interview with WLW Radio Cincinnati
CreditCards.com Senior Industry Analyst Matt Schulz spoke on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, with Eddie Fingers of WLW Radio Cincinnati about the results of the May 2015 Biggest Family Financial Influences survey. The interview and transcript are below.
Eddie Fingers: So the question is: the family member that you learn the most from about finances – who in your life impacted your financial outlook, the way you look at money and finance, the most? Who in your life did that? Matt Schulz is with CreditCards.com, he’s the senior analyst. Matt, morning.
Matt Schulz: Good morning.
Fingers: People are going, “Well, my dad, maybe my mom, was it my mom or my dad? Probably my dad. Well, maybe it was my mom. And if you said that you are wrong.
Schulz: What we found, it was interesting, we found that the most popular answer when we asked who in your family had the biggest financial influence on you, most people said themselves. Which was interesting because self-reliance is as American as mom and apple pie. Maybe that’s what’s behind it.
Fingers: Yeah, your own self, about a third of Americans said that was. And then mom and then dad down the list a little bit, too. Does that change as you get older?
Schulz: Yeah it sure does. Millennials were the most likely to say that their mom’s were their biggest influence, but as you get older, when you’re 50 and older, mom actually ranked fourth.
Fingers: And number one was self?
Schulz: Yes, exactly.
Fingers: What does that mean, though, you’re the biggest financial influence? Because we all learn by seeing, we all learn by watching others do things. Kids at the early stages do that and mimic and certainly in school that’s the case as well, but why would we say ‘self’? Can you give me an insight into why we would say that?
Schulz: Well I think that it’s just that we’ve spent all these years paying your own bills, making your own mistakes, and kind of soaking in a lot of expert advice that’s out there so might kind of internalize that as saying, “Hey, I’m my own best influence,” whereas if you’re younger those conversations with mom and dad across the kitchen table might be a little more in the front of your mind.
Fingers: It’s interesting, I don’t know if I would ever say that. I would say both parents equally because in my case what I learned from my dad is a strong work ethic and the other thing, too, is not living beyond your means and saving your money and not succumbing to instant gratification and things like that.
Schulz: And overall mom and dad were fairly close. 16% said mom and 14% said dad so there’s not that much difference. But we also found that as you get older, you’re more likely to have said that your spouse was a big influence and that makes a lot of sense.
Fingers: Yeah because you look at the other person’s spending habits and you tend to mimic each other in other ways. That one makes a lot of sense to me. Obviously that would be the, what, over 30, 35 crowd that probably said that?
Schulz: Yeah, and especially when it comes to big ticket purchases. I think any married person can tell you it’s a good idea to bounce those off your spouse before you go out and buy.
Fingers: What if your spouse is a train-wreck with finances? Does that show up anywhere?
Schulz: No, we didn’t ask whether they were good or bad influences, but sometimes you can learn as much from the bad influences as from the good.
Fingers: Yeah, it makes sense though that you are your own best teacher in this regard, too, because you make mistakes and we’ve all made those, especially when you’re younger and you go, “Wow, why did I do that?” People getting in credit card problems and taking out predatory loans and things like that. “If only I knew then what I knew now” – I’m sure many people say that when it comes to finances. Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com, thanks for the info, buddy.
Schulz: Thank you.
Fingers: Alright, have a good day.