How did we get here? Part 1, Family Background

In a previous post, I talked about our current financial situation. This time, I’ll begin to describe how we got to our current financial position, kicking off with some info on our family backgrounds.

I come from a city of 130,000 in a EDC (economically developed or ‘first world’ country). I spent my childhood and teenagehood in the same home, except for the year my father participated in a professional exchange in Europe – I was 2 years old. My mother was a stay-at-home parent from my birth until 6 weeks after my brother was born 4 years later, when she returned to work.

My parents’ combined income probably ranged between $60,000 and $80,000 dollars (in local currency) for most of the time I lived with them. Their retirement investments are in the form of real estate, which my father takes the lead in managing; they’re probably worth a little over $500k. My father also draws a government pension, which he’s already started drawing on.

My father and mother have both experienced periods of unemployment, and their approaches to dealing with it were quite different. My father spent most of a year not seeking work, and living on his redundancy check; my mother immediately sought a minimum-wage job until she found work in her field again.

My family drives and has always driven second-hand cars (of which more later).

In general, I’d say the culture of my home country is not extremely wealth-oriented; the income distribution is relatively flat, due to a comprehensive welfare system and a pay scale that is much flatter than here in the US. There’s a lot of emphasis on DIY and an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude. I think this is starting to change, particularly in the last few years when there has been considerable overseas interest and investment in my country.

H1Worker was born in a LDC (less-developed or ‘third world’ country). His family moved to a large international city a few months after his birth. By his account, his family struggled to establish themselves for the first years after their relocation, but by the time of his brother’s birth six years later they were able to live a comfortable middle-class life. His father started out working in a low-level government post, but an accident meant he was no longer able to perform this work, so he moved into the business sector. Now, he’s involved in a diverse range of business initiatives. H1Worker’s mother has always been a stay-at-home mother and wife.

H1Worker’s family owns a variety of real estate and other investments, both in their current country of residence and in their home country. I’ll find out more about the rest of their portfolio…

H1Worker’s family drives new, high-end cars, which are valued very highly in their home culture and country of residence. Both places have a relatively large income spread, with people who are both extremely rich and extremely poor by global standards.

In general, i think both of our families are responsible with their finances, even though they have different goals and priorities. We are lucky in that regard! But the differences in our home environments and in family attitudes do influence our perspectives on money and finance today. It’s interesting to see how this plays out in our day to day lives.

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