By Jennifer Goforth Gregory
When we returned from a recent family vacation, my 11-year-old daughter's carry-on bag was crammed with colorful trinkets that she had purchased with her vacation money. My 9-year-old son, on the other hand, boarded the plane with pockets full of cash that he had decided not to spend and instead save for an iPad mini.
I have always been fascinated by the nature vs. nurture discussion, especially when it comes to spending habits. My kids are 19 months and 17 days apart (not that anyone counted) and have been raised in the same middle-class house where we try to instill good money habits. But each of their attitudes toward money has been apparent since they were preschoolers.
When my daughter received money for her third birthday, she immediately launched a campaign for one of us to take her to the toy store right that minute. And even as a toddler, my son put any money he was given directly into his piggy-bank.
The power of DNA
Recently I stumbled upon a study backing up what I have observed in my own kids. A 2011 study of 15,000 sets of twins by finance professors at the University of Washington and Claremont McKenna College showed that a high percentage of identical twins had the same investing patterns as each other -- even if they were raised apart. The researchers concluded that genetic factors account for one-third of an investor's behavior on average.
But even if our genes shape much of our money personality, that doesn't mean spenders are destined to a life of debt and savers can't learn to loosen their purse strings a little.Read the full article »