OK, confession time: I have a bit of a financial savior complex.
If a loved one hints at financial strain, I want to jump in and fix the problem, either by giving advice or giving money. The latter is often in short supply, but I always seem to have plenty to spare of the former. I go on tangents about impulsive behavior, tout the virtues of long-term saving, and heap on unsolicited financial resources.
Nowhere is this more evident than with my sister Rory. Thirteen years my junior, I see so much of my younger self in her that I can’t resist the impulse to tell her what to do. I’m not bossing her around. I’m helping her avoid the financial mistakes I made.
At 19, Rory’s financial life is just beginning and I want it to be a rich one (no pun intended). I don’t want to see her dodging debt collectors’ phone calls. I don’t want her to take out exorbitant student loans, only to realize the consequences years later. And I really don’t want her to rack up credit card debt on non-essentials that are fun in the moment but could cost her hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long-term. I know from experience how shame- and anxiety-inducing these behaviors are, because I was there. I made those decisions.
The pain of my own mistakes sometimes blinds me to the fact that even though we look alike, sound alike, and have uncannily similar personalities, Rory isn’t me, and I need to give her some credit.