Money for Boba had a link love this week, which turned me on to this post by Bankrate.com about how birth order can affect your finances.
I find families and birth order very interesting. I love hearing about other people’s families and how they worked. One of my best friends has six brothers, and she’s the only girl. Another good friend is an only child. My cousins are sisters. I have one friend whose siblings are 25 and 30 years older than her.
I have one brother. I also have a step brother, but my dad met his mom when we were too old for it to make a difference in our family structure, so, essentially, the brother is all I have.
The article on Bankrate.com outlines how birth order typically dictates finances and responsibility. Apparently, first borns are supposed to be financially responsible and drawn to high paying careers, whereas their younger siblings tend to me a bit more artistic and will settle for lower paying careers.
The baby of the family is supposed to be social and a frivolous spender. Only children will usually, according to the article, mimic the traits of the first born, and middle children are “prone to secrecy” with their finances, as natural problem solvers.
I am the baby of the family. My brother is older by 21 months. I may be the outlier, and perhaps this is because my family circumstances are different than the average family, but I am, by far, the “responsible” one.
My Brother (The Oldest)
My brother has always been artistic. He never excelled academically, but was part of school plays and loved to draw. He’s always loved music and sports. He’s always been amazing with computers and the internet, so I frequently call him to troubleshoot whatever I’m struggling with.
He’s charming and quick to make friends. He was always popular in school and very social. He would even invite his friends over for family functions because he couldn’t tear himself away from them for long enough to just hang out with us (granted, I was probably intolerable as a child. I was the little sister, so loved to torture him).
When we were little, he was sensitive. My mom teases me sometimes, because while her and my brother would be crying over a movie that was particularly moving, at six, I’d be rolling my eyes and telling them that “it was just a movie” and to “get over it”.
As he got older, he began to rebel a bit, leaving me to cover for him. He was caught egging a neighbors car, smoking cigarettes under our balcony, sneaking out, letting his girlfriend sleep over, having parties when my mom went out of town for a funeral, and smoking pot at school.
He didn’t graduate high school, because he struggled so severely academically. He struggled not because he wasn’t smart, but because he had no interest in school or higher education. He dropped out a year from graduation and had a hard time finding a job after that.
He is a lot more responsible now that he’s grown up, but his finances are a mess.
His credit score is so poor that he can’t even get a credit card. He owes the government money, he owes family money, and he still spends every last dime he has on clothes.
He does put money into an RSP because his employer offers RSP contribution matching, but he does not invest in any other way. He doesn’t have an emergency fund, and he makes stupid financial decisions like renting two apartments at once because he wants to be able to go back to his other one if/when he returns to Vancouver.
I think he’s slowly realizing that his lifestyle is not sustainable, even on a decent income, and he’s making efforts to pare it back.
Daisy (The Baby)
I’ve always been academically inclined. I took honors courses in high school and graduated a semester earlier than my classmates. I struggled in math, but I passed the highest level math because I knew I needed it for college.
I’d always known I wanted to attend post secondary, knowing even that my parents couldn’t help me financially with it. When I was younger I’d wanted to be a psychologist, a doctor, an entrepreneur and an author. Never did I want to become an actress, singer, or artist.
My artistic capabilities started, and ended, at creative writing. I’ve never liked music, I can’t draw or paint worth a damn (and have no interest in it), and don’t care for acting.
I read like it was going out of style and researched things for fun on the computer. I played educational games (like the Yukon Trail) when my brother was playing Mario Cart.
When my brother started acting out and causing my mom a whole bunch of grief, I threw myself back in line. I knew that my mom couldn’t handle another problem child, so I helped extra, tried to talk to my brother for her, and made sure I had a job to pay for my own stuff.
When I was 16, my mom had a friend who was a financial adviser, and I picked his brain when he was over one night helping my mom with her retirement account. How much of my $6/hour fast food paycheque should I be saving? What should I save it for?
At 17, I had three jobs while in high school to save up for college. I didn’t get very far, because my mom quickly put an end to that, but I worked from when I was 15-currently without so much as a week off.
At 21, I started WLGYL on Blogger to track my spending and saving so that I could get out of school with a minimal amount of debt, and I am still here today, 23 years old and being quasi-financially responsible.
They’ve Got it Backwards
At least in my family, the studies have it backwards. As the baby, who is supposed to be irresponsible and artsy, I am responsible (in comparison) and academic.
As the supposedly responsible, academic one, my brother, the oldest, is (was) irresponsible and artsy.
I find this so interesting, because it proves that nobody fits the mold perfectly. Sure, I’m supposed to be the irresponsible dare devil but it’s quite the opposite.
What about you? Do you have siblings? Who is more financially responsible?