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Do as I Do: Financial Lessons Passed Down From Mom and Dad

Anna Rae Goethe, 22, is an avid saver who understands the importance of budgeting and the value of professional advice — thanks to her mom and dad. Since she dreams of working for a nonprofit organization, saving now for the long term will help Anna Rae pursue her goals.

Video

Featuring

Anna Rae Goethe American Funds Investor

Transcript

Recorded June 2013

Anna Rae Goethe: I think that as a child, maybe my parents were telling me things about money, but you don’t really recognize it so much until we’re coming back and having discussions like this. It makes me kind of reevaluate and think, “Where did I learn what I learned?” So even though I don’t recall it in my life being like a daily “Let’s talk about your finances” thing … you know, osmosis.

So one thing right before when I made that decision to make some investments, my parents told me that I could go and see their advisor. As a young person I just kind of assumed that every time you went there you had to pay a lot of money to see them. It was another expense that, as a 22-year-old, I just didn’t have room for more bills to pay. And it wasn’t until they explained to me that she would take a cut only when I invested, that it wasn’t going to cost me upfront and it was only going to cost me a little bit. It just made perfect sense.

I thought about it abstractly. I remember once sitting on an airplane ride — and you know you’re a captive audience — and the guy sitting next to me spent the entire time telling me how young I was and I need to invest now and it didn’t matter how small it was, but take it from an old man, I had to do it now. And in theory, one day I will not be in debt and I will also have this money that I put away way back when I was 22.

When I was 16 and 17 and lived in France, I went over on a Rotary Exchange scholarship. When I was there I did take really, really meticulous notes of where I shopped, what I ate, every little cent that I bought. Because at that time it really mattered — I only had so much money in my bank account. Actually, I thought there was a graph in here, too. There might have been a graph at some point. I am a little OCD.

I think one day my parents were probably cleaning something out, and they were like “Hey, get a load of this.” And they showed me, and it’s pretty much exactly the same thing for ’79, so that was a good eight years before I was born.

Dad: We didn’t do this every month. It was just an occasional thing to get an idea of where the expenses were going.

Anna Rae: All right … booze, gas, newspaper, laundry.

Dad: And how much was a newspaper?

Anna Rae: 15 … is that 15 cents?

Dad: 15 cents.

Mom: We weren’t quite well off enough that we could say, okay, take an unpaid internship —

Anna Rae: That was a bummer.

Mom: — which would have made a lot of difference.

Anna Rae: Because the sort of work I want to do is I’ve always wanted to work in nonprofits. I’m interested in working with refugees and with human rights and immigrant populations. There was an internship that I got that I passed up because I couldn’t afford to not work during the summers.

Dad: I was always impressed with Anna Rae saving money because I remember when I was a kid I didn’t save any money. She’s a bright kid and we always knew that about her.

Mom: She’s wonderful.

Anna Rae: They don’t say this all the time.


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