The Winner of LearnVest's May Family Money Challenge!

The Winner of LearnVest's May Family Money Challenge!

In May, we asked readers to tell us about the memorable money lessons that they've learned from family—and the advice that they plan to pass on to their own kids.

We received hundreds of amazing responses from LearnVesters all over the world, and even picked up a trick or two ourselves. Thank you to everyone who reached out to share their stories.

We'd also like to congratulate Kirsten from New York City on winning the May Challenge! She'll receive $250 to put toward her financial goals.


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Check out her remarkable story about the financial lessons that she learned from her father:

"My dad is the real-life American Dream: He immigrated to the U.S. from China when he was just 6 years old and went on to become a Newsweek-lauded financial adviser and the proud parent of two college graduates. Through his life and actions, he's taught our family what true financial responsibility really means.

He paid his way through college by working three jobs, and then got his foot in the door on Wall Street, where he became a successful trader. He commuted over an hour each way for 20 years, intelligently investing and saving his money, before finally resigning to start his own business as a financial adviser near our home.

His life taught me one of my first money lessons: Always live below your means. He held true to his own words by never falling victim to consumerism, which was a difficult feat considering that he worked on Wall Street in its heyday.

During my childhood, he engrained in me another vital lesson: Know the difference between your wants and your needs. This started when he would take me back-to-school shopping. (Yes, it was always a father-daughter outing. Dad's got style!). He would make me go through my closet and drawers to separate what I could still wear versus what was to be donated. With all of the clothes that I was keeping, I'd have to decide which pieces I 'needed' versus what I 'wanted.'

Granted, I probably didn't 'need' much at all in the true essence of the word, but it was a wonderful lesson nonetheless. Now that I'm living in NYC independently, my budget is pretty grateful for this lesson, too. I cringe when I see rampant materialism in the form of 20-something girls with $1,000 shoes. To each her own, but I'm glad that I don't feel the need to 'keep up' with it.

Finally, my mom has a genetic condition that has put her in a wheelchair in recent years. But what could have been a life-dampening tragedy has only brought us closer as a family. Why? Because of my father's third lesson in finance and life: Always do your homework—know how to prepare and, most importantly, know your resources. Growing up, he always ensured that our family had the right insurance coverage. This foresight allows us to have all of the assistance that we need now, without having to struggle financially or emotionally to keep mom happy.

Of course, his stoic attitude and strong-willed, loving persona also turned what could have been a problem into an opportunity ... and maybe that's the biggest lesson of all."

Thank you, Kirsten!

Next up: Now that summer is almost here, keep an eye out for next month's challenge—sharing your best money-saving travel tip!


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