The Winner of the November Family Money Traditions Challenge!

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mark borahThis month, we asked our readers to share the family traditions that have taught them the most about money.

We received hundreds of great responses. Some were happy traditions, like marking the day you paid off a bill by putting a smiley face on the calendar. Others fell into the category of tough love: One reader had to cough up interest when repaying loans to her parents (you can read the rest in the comments here). We want to thank everyone who reached out and shared their stories.

We’d also like to congratulate the winner of the November challenge: Mark Borah, a sales manager in Benton Harbor, Mich. Check out Mark’s unique family tradition below:

“In my family, each year, the older generation contributes 50% of the annual maximum retirement contribution into IRAs for younger family members—as long as the younger ones put up the other 50%. The young family members get to decide whether they’d like to invest in a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, though we usually encourage them to choose the Roth. It gets the younger generation into the habit of saving for retirement early on, when it really makes a big difference.

“My father-in-law started this tradition about 25 years ago. My wife and I, who were in our early 20s at the time, took full advantage of his offer. Though we’d always been responsible with money, I don’t think saving for retirement was even on our radar then. So with his offer, my father-in-law essentially kick-started our savings while we were in college, and we have contributed the maximum amount to our Roth IRAs every year since.

RELATED: Retirement Savings: The Advantage of Starting Early

“While I don’t have kids myself, I intend to extend this offer to my nephews as soon as they’re eligible to contribute. It’s a great tradition because it shows the incredible value of compound interest and teaches how investing so early in life can pay huge dividends come retirement.”

Thank you for sharing, Mark!

Are you saving up for something special in 2014? Look out for our December challenge—you could win $250!

  • Dani

    This is such a great idea. My family did something somewhat similar for me by getting me savings bonds as gifts all throughout my childhood. Though it isn’t quite as much as a Roth, I’m happily watching these bonds grow steadily (and at a nice 4% interest rate) and will have a lovely chunk of money when they mature to hopefully put money down on a home. Thanks for the tip, Mark.