Like a lot of lower-middle-class families, in our household, we always had this subtle resentment of people who, as my dad would say, “had everything handed to them.” I have a friend who's embarrassed by the fact that he's had everything handed to him - there's this unspoken shame you feel when you tell people you didn't pay for your own lifestyle.

And that's not really fair. Why should there be a sense of haughtiness for people whose parents provided for them?

My mom also pointed out that it's about perspective. What I considered “poor,” many people in the world would consider incredibly wealthy. It's insulting to call it “poverty” and say that I grew up poor when, really, we may have struggled to pay utility bills, but we always had food.

At any rate, I've been mulling over these thoughts in the past few weeks, especially in wondering how I'll teach my own children financial independence. So I have a few questions:

Do you think impoverished kids learn the tenets of responsibility and hard work more intensely or effectively than privileged kids? Basically - is there a personal finance advantage to growing up poor?

How do I go about teaching my children the importance of finance, responsibility and self-sufficiency when I plan to give them a safety net?

Does an impoverished mind-set keep you from enjoying the freedom of financial independence?

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