Money lessons I learnt from Mum

In this Mother's Day tribute, real mothers reveal how their mum's famous words influenced their financial values and share their own golden nuggets for their little ones.

Many of our biggest life lessons come from none other than Mum. And while it may be surprising, experts agree that more than any explicit financial knowledge, such life lessons are highly effectual in shaping our attitude towards money. So, thank you mums for imparting dollar wisdom without us even realising it! 

Homemaker & mum to Nusaybah, 5, and Ashaz, 2 months

Nooracuma binte Memahat, 39

What were your mum’s famous words when you were growing up?

She frequently uttered this Malay proverb, “Ukur baju dibadan sendiri”. Literally translated into “measure your coat to your own person”, this means live within your means or act according to your ability. 

She also stressed the importance of not just having goals and dreams, but also having a plan to achieve them. This taught me the importance of having a tactical game plan to achieving long-term goals. A major exercise in this was planning my wedding.

How did this shape your values about money?

It was a great reminder to spend wisely. In my teens, it was sometimes challenging to live by these words, especially when I felt tempted to buy whatever my peers had even though I didn’t need it. But once I started earning my own money, I became more conscious of my spending. I began to make the most of what I had in order to achieve what I wanted. I was determined to fund my own university studies, so I looked for creative ways to live lean and save as much as possible. 

The idea of spending only what you have was demonstrated in many ways at home. My parents never believed in over-relying on credit cards. Instead of paying with plastic or taking a loan to buy something, Mum always advised us to save our money for it. Now that I have my own family, I believe having a credit card is essential for online/cashless payments but my hubby and I are very mindful of the potential dangers behind its convenience. We set limits on our monthly credit expenditure. I have my mum to thank for instilling in me the value of being very thoughtful in separating need from want, and exercising patience when thinking about making big purchases.

What financial lessons has motherhood taught you?

Always research before buying so as to make appropriate choices according to your needs and invest in quality products. Being money-smart is not always about scrimping and saving every dime, but taking the long view when making financial decisions. In the past, my personal shopping list used to be longer but now, it’s more focused on my children’s needs! It’s perfectly fine to forgo a few extras for myself so my kids can be comfortable, happy and get the best start in life!

What kind of legacy do you hope to leave for your children?

I want to impart in them the value of independence, not relying on others. My daughter has a bottle that she uses to keep monetary gifts she collects on Eid or other occasions. We remind her that if there’s something she wants to buy, she must first save enough money for it.

What do you/will you tell your children about money? 

To have money is a great thing but to have a good heart is everything! We do this by teaching them the value of being charitable, be it with their money or with their time. Very often, spending time with someone can mean so much more to them than a handout. Every time their birthday comes around, we encourage them to perform an act of charity of their choice, to share happiness. 


Associate account director and mother to Tamara, 9, and Christof, 4

Christine Sipin, 40s

What were your mum’s famous words when you were growing up?

She’s a woman of few words. She taught me, by example, the importance of earning your own keep, thinking on your toes and sheer grit.

How did this shape your values about money?

Financial independence has always been the goal and as my mum herself is in the insurance industry, I believe in always being ready. I’ve seen my mother help countless people especially with their healthcare needs. It’s ingrained in me to do the same for my family: to get us all insured and prepared for school and retirement; and also to purchase our own home.

The money I’ve set aside has always been put to good use; for medical bills when I started my own family, buying our own flat or funding our kids’ educational needs. I’ve learned that when you are diligent in saving and investing money, you’ll be well prepared for whatever life throws at you.

What financial lessons has motherhood taught you?

When you have young kids, your expenses seem to growing exponentially with their age! So my attitude towards money has always been pragmatic and practical. But I’ve learned to explore ways to make my money work for me. My attitude shift came in the form of knowing when to treat myself too; to consciously have self-care and be generous with my well-being. I used to feel guilty when spending on myself. Money is meant to be enjoyed too, after all.

What kind of legacy do you hope to leave for your children?

Just as I’m constantly looking out for them now, I want them to look after each other, to never turn the other away. I want them to know the importance of working hard; that if they want something, they have to earn it. I want them to value their education, opportunities andgifts. Gifts and talents are multiplied when used and taken away when taken for granted. My 9-year-old has that drummed into her head by now (I hope).

What do you/will you tell your children about money?

Daddy and I are out working so you can both study hard until you achieve your dreams. Find what you love to do and study to be the best version of yourself in whatever field that may be. Money will follow but what’s important is that you are happy and fulfilled and are able to share what you have. Be independent, save, know what’s important.

Also, do not be wasteful, respect people regardless of money or stature, be fair and share.

Senior account manager (integrated marketing) and mum to an eight-year-old boy

Marie Wee, 40

What were your mum’s famous words when you were growing up?

"Study hard and you will earn lots of money." I've found the two to be not necessarily correlated but diligence is a universal virtue and there are incentives that come with it, be it monetary reward, recognition, peer respect or a better chance for advancement in the workplace. With it, more doors will open. As a parent now, I’ve also come to realise that this philosophy doesn't always work the way it's meant to; sometimes, one needs to find incentives, or even be armed with a bag of tricks in order to get children to work hard!

How did this shape your values about money?

Because of the hardship they grew up with, many older folk tend to view building up a huge financial vault as the keys to a comfortable life and greater security. And that’s true to some extent. Money can buy some happiness, such as a memorable vacation with loved ones, but it cannot buy relationships nor real love.

What financial lessons has motherhood taught you?

That just enough is not enough. Children tend to fall sick, need more, want more... To avoid mum-guilt or feeling inadequately prepared for my child's future, I’ve cut back on non-essentials and learnt ways to make money work harder for me, because more may only be just enough.

What kind of legacy do you hope to leave for your child?

I hope to be an effective role model of good money management, so that he’ll be able to control his finances with wisdom, while being sufficiently generous and kind. 

I want to instil in him an understanding of the difference between money and value; as well as pride and humility.

What do you/will you tell your child about money?

Don't spend it like there's no tomorrow – because there is.


Start saving for your child's future today

Leave us your details and we'll be in touch to send you more information.

Thank you for your submission. 

Sorry, there seems to be a problem with this page. Please refresh and try again in a few minutes.

By clicking "Submit", you consent to Singapore Life Ltd. (“Singlife”) and Singlife related group of companies contacting you to provide you with information concerning Singlife and Singlife related group of companies' products and services. You also consent to Singlife using, disclosing or transferring your personal data in this form to Singlife related group of companies, third party providers or intermediaries, whether located in Singapore or elsewhere, for the above purposes and for research, audit, regulatory and compliance purposes.

For details of Singlife's Data Protection Notice, please refer to To withdraw your consent at any time, please call Singlife at +65 6827 9933.

Receive monthly updates

Subscribe to Money Banter to receive useful tips and guides on insurance and offers on products and services.

Thank you for your submission. 

By clicking “Submit”, you consent to Singapore Life Ltd. (“Singlife”) and Singlife related companies contacting you to provide you with information concerning Singlife and Singlife related companies’ products and services and special offers which may be of interest to you.
For details of Singlife's Data Protection Policy, please refer to To withdraw your consent at any time, please call Singlife at +65 6827 9933.

Important Information

Money Banter (the "Portal") is for general information only and does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation, health condition and needs of any particular person. The contents of this Portal are intended merely for educational purposes and should not be construed as the giving of advice or the making of a recommendation. Nothing contained in this Portal shall constitute a distribution, an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy. We recommend that you discuss any specific matters with your financial adviser representative or legal adviser before making any decision. You are responsible for your own medical care, treatment and oversight, and any health-related content on this Portal, including, text, treatments, dosages, outcomes, charts, profiles, graphics, images, messages and forum postings are strictly information to promote general understanding of certain health topics only, do not constitute the providing of medical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice from a physician or other qualified health care provider regarding your medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. This Portal may include information sourced from third parties and links to third party websites. We are not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of, and do not recommend or endorse such information or third party websites nor recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions or other information. While we have taken reasonable care to ensure that the information on this Portal has been obtained from reliable sources and is correct at time of publishing, information may become outdated and opinions may change. Except to the extent prohibited by any law, we are not liable for any loss (including direct, indirect and consequential loss, loss of profits, loss or corruption of data or economic loss of any kind) that may result from the access or use of or reliance on the information on this Portal.  | Terms of Use | Data Protection Policy

Protected up to specified limits by SDIC. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.