My brother and I were born only 15 months apart. We grew up pretty much the same but he has ALWAYS been good at saving. Me, not so much and (Our little sister is also more spender than saver). I remember when we were about 6 and 8 and going on our first (and only) trip to Disneyworld, our parents gave us banks to save up for the trip. He saved over $100 in a few months while I had like, maybe $15! I don’t know how he did it, it’s not like he had a job, I guess he was scouring the couch cushions in his free time or something.
He is STILL so much better at accumulating money than me. In fact he had been out of work for almost 6 months and his and lifestyle did not changed one bit. (He thankfully starts his new job today!) He has always been like a squirrel with acorns – socking his money for a rainy day. He could have lasted over a year without a job and not have had to make one cutback. He never even stopped making extra principal payments to his mortgage while unemployed.
He’s never read a Personal Finance blog and he’s never heard of Dave Ramsey. His natural frugality has to be inborn at some level.
The funny thing is I do his taxes. I encouraged him to open a Roth IRA. I helped him to put his “extra” money into CD’s and High interest Saving accounts. When he got married last year, he and his wife asked me to come over and help them set up a budget. Yes, me – the person who feeds her dogs cat food?! I’m the nerd that reads all the finance stuff. I know things like how expense ratios can eat into your investment returns but I can’t save a dime without a tremendous amount of effort? ARRGGHHH!
I’ve asked him to tell me how he does it. He doesn’t know! To him there are no tricks, no tips – it’s just how he is. He can’t fathom living any other way.
I’m interested to see how my kids will approach money. Does it often turn out like that in families? One sibling is “the spender”, one “the saver”, one “the middle ground”…