What is Your First Money Memory?

What is Your First Money Memory?
April 14, 2023 Katherine Matina

Dr. Sonya Lutter, Ph.D., CFP, LMFT, often asks her clients about their first money memory. She once had a couple sculpt their first money memory with Playdough.1

The husband hadn’t been very conversational in their early meetings so she wasn’t confident he would participate in the exercise. But he did in the most surprising way.

“He picked up his Playdough and he made the most amazing pig from Playdough you’ve ever seen,” Dr. Lutter said. “He got out his pen from his back pocket and made all the indentions and a nice little squiggly tail.”

She thought he was going to tell a story about a piggybank, but he told a story about raising a piglet for the county fair when he was a child – about 8 or 9 years old. When he took the piglet to the fair, it was sold, and his parents took the money. He had nothing to show for all his hard work and sacrifice.

“His wife looked at him and said, ‘Now I get it – now I understand why you want to know where every single penny is and why you’re always questioning my spending,’” Dr. Lutter said.

Dr. Lutter noted that in some of the research she’s done, she’s found our earliest money memories impact our satisfaction both with our money and our relationships.

“It’s so enlightening in terms of how people engage with their money right now,” Dr. Lutter said.

The couple she mentioned became more conversational and together they built a spreadsheet, so they were both involved and aware of what was going on with the finances.

Forbes reported that we form our beliefs about money when we are little from messages from both our family and society.2

How might your money memories impact you? In the book Find Your Freedom: Financial Planning for a Life on Purpose, Ron Carson and Jamie P. Hopkins offer the following takeaways from their chapter on money memories and their role in your money story.3

    • Our first money memories can be transformational to our life experiences.
    • Our relationship with money is determined at an early age.
    • Our relationship with money is not just financial and rational, but emotional and transformative.
    • Money can come from a place of joy or pain.
    • Money is about ability—it can enable us to achieve many things.

The pair also offer some reflection questions for you to examine your own money memories:

    • What is the first memory you have of money?
    • How would you describe your parents’ approach to money
    • What is one thing you’d like to emulate about your parents’ approach to money?
    • What’s one thing you would not want to emulate about your parents’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors around money?
    • What is one financial accomplishment you’re proud of?
    • What financial situation has caused you to feel disappointed or embarrassed?

We’d love to hear your answers to these questions! Let’s set up some time to go over them.


Preparing for a Possible Recession 

The Conference Board predicts a recession this year, but the silver lining is that they also predict a pretty swift rebound.4

Investopedia notes that a recession happens when the economy stops growing and begins to contract.5 And NerdWallet says that it’s generally two consecutive quarters of a slowing economic activity.6

A recession comes with characteristics like increased unemployment, a drop in the stock market and a dip in the housing market.7

Here are some things to keep in mind to prepare:8

    • Don’t be scared. The first step is to not be afraid or stressed. We’ve talked about bear markets before – and we’ve been through a few together already. Nothing lasts forever. Whether you have a longer time horizon or are nearing retirement, let’s connect to figure out the best path forward for you.
    • Pay off credit card debt. If you carry a balance from month to month, focus on paying that balance off – especially the high interest cards. Since interest rates have risen, you’re paying more for borrowing that money. We can discuss some options that might work for you – whether that’s transferring the balance to a zero percent card or requesting an interest rate reduction.
    • Stash cash. You want to stockpile extra money. Especially if you haven’t been focused on your emergency fund, now is the time to ensure you have at least three to six months of living expenses in your savings.
    • Put off large purchases. Buying a new house or renovating your current home might be on the list of wants, but putting those large expenses off can help you weather any impending recession.

If you need help with preparation, or if you need us to help ease any fears, be sure to give us a call!


A Sprout Recipe You Can’t Resist

It wasn’t long ago when the sight of a Brussels sprout would make some people gag. Cooks Without Borders noted that a 1999 edition of the Los Angeles Times food section predicted that

“Brussels sprouts are never going to win any popularity contests.”9

Oh, how wrong they were. It’s almost as if Brussels sprouts hired the most premiere public relations firm on earth as they’ve no doubt had one of the most impressive rebrands ever. You see them everywhere now – glazed, roasted, fried – and they are not only delicious, but they’re still good for you!

Gone are the days of boiled and bland Brussels sprouts. Now, we are in the era of delectable sprouts. One particularly delicious recipe that has popped up in restaurants across genres is the honey balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts from delish:10

What you’ll need:

      • 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
      • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
      • ½ cup of balsamic vinegar
      • 2 tablespoons of honey
      • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • Kosher salt
      • Freshly ground black pepper

How you’ll make the Brussels sprouts:

      • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil.
      • Add Brussels sprouts, cut side down, and cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are golden on the bottom.
      • Add ¼ cup water and cover.
      • Let Brussels sprouts steam until tender, 3 minutes. If the skillet seems dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time.
      • Remove sprouts from skillet and set aside on a plate.
      • On that same skillet, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, and minced garlic.
      • Bring to a simmer and cook until the glaze is thick, which should take about 6 to 8 minutes.
      • Return sprouts to pan, toss to coat, and heat through, 2 to 3 more minutes.
      • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

While this recipe is vegan, you can add some goat cheese crumbles on top of them for a non-vegan treat.


What Do You Know About Brussels Sprouts?

Let’s see what we know about Brussels sprouts:11


  1. How many pounds of Brussels sprouts does the U.S. produce every year?

a. 30 million pounds

b. 50 million pounds

c. 70 million pounds

d. 90 million pounds

  1. The sulforaphane that gives Brussels sprouts their unique flavor also helps lower the risk of _____.

a. Cancer

b. Bad breath

c. Brittle nails

d. Yellow teeth

  1. Brussels sprouts supplied enough _____ to light a Christmas tree in London’s South bank in 2013.

a. Joy

b. Power

c. Fun

d. Health

  1. True or False: Brussels sprouts were named after the capital of Belgium.11




Quiz Answers:

  1. C – 70 million pounds
  2. A – Cancer
  3. B – Power
  4. True


Best regards,


Securities and Retirement Plan Consulting Program advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. Other advisory services and investment advice offered through Dean, Jacobson Financial Services, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor, and separate entity from LPL Financial.
*The views expressed are offered through Dean, Jacobson Financial Services, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the firm or its advisors, nor those of LPL Financial.  These views should not be construed as investment advice.  Please contact advisors at Dean, Jacobson Financial Services for specific questions or explanations on interpreting this information for your personal circumstances.
1 Framework | E158 | Dr. Sonya Lutter, Erin Wood & Dr. Julie Ragatz: Family Money Dynamics
2 https://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/02/22/how-your-money-memories-could-be-helping-or-hurting-your-finances/?sh=69840f5712c0
4 https://www.conference-board.org/research/us-forecast
5 https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/recession.asp
6 https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/are-we-in-a-recession
7 https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/personal-finance/what-is-a-recession/
8 https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/06/15/7-tips-on-how-to-survive-a-recession/
9 https://cookswithoutborders.com/new-story/brussels-sprouts-popularity-rise
10 https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/thanksgiving/a23013160/honey-balsamic-glazed-brussels-sprouts-recipe/
11 https://www.hitchcockfarms.com/blog/brussels-sprouts-25-fun-and-surprising-facts