The most important lessons we learn about money don’t come from our accountants or our radios. They come from our family.
Each week, we invite someone to tell us about the money tips they inherited from the people they grew up with.
This week our guest is Annabelle Gurwitch. You might have seen her on the TBS show Dinner and a Movie in the late 90s. She’s also appeared on shows like Dexter, Medium and Seinfeld. Her new book is called I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50.
Gurwitch says her upbringing didn’t include discussions about financial strategy. “There was no savings plan. There was no planning for the future at all, ever.”
“My dad had a lot of different businesses,” says Gurwitch, “Everything from a chain of fast-food restaurants called Burger Castle, then he had a door factory, then he was in the soft-core porn distribution industry.” And that wasn’t the full list.
Money was rarely a conversation topic at her home home. “And when [money] appeared, we would be living in a house with Mercedes. And when it went away, we would be living at my aunt and uncle’s house sharing bedrooms with my cousins.”
But now, as an adult herself, Gurwitch makes saving and planning for the future a priority. “My friends have nicknamed me ‘The Squirreler,'” she says, because she is always putting money away and always kept a low overhead.
“When I was a series regular on a number of TV shows, I never went and got the more expensive house. I actually share a bathroom with my husband and 16-year-old son. This is not a great idea. It’s very European,” she says. “My upbringing really impacted me, so I’ve always squirreled away money so that, hopefully, I wouldn’t be in the same position we were when I was growing up.”