When I was 7 years old, my parents separated. I was living with my Mom and brother in a small apartment in Illinois, in what I remember to be a pretty rough, low income neighborhood.

Money was tight. We ate a lot of macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. My Mom would occasionally pay me a quarter for helping put laundry away or helping with the dishes. Sometimes I’d find a  penny, dime or nickel on the ground or shoved in between cushions on the couch.  Slowly, little by little, I started collecting money and keeping it in my dresser drawer.

One day I found an old shoe box in the garbage dumpster outside our apartment. I brought it home, cut a hole in the top and used tape to secure the edges. This was my first savings account. I was proud of that box and kept it hidden in my closet. Every time I was able to earn or find a little bit of money, I would delight in being able to drop it in the slot on the top of the box. I’d shake the box and listen as my little stash grew.

One day I overheard my Mom talking on the phone about not having enough money. She sounded angry and a little bit scared. I went into my room, grabbed that box and brought it to my Mom. She accepted my savings reluctantly but with a big hug. The look in her eyes was both grateful and proud. I’ll never forget that moment.

As I think back that was one of my first memories of money. This was the beginning of learning the importance of savings. I did not realize it at the time, but in that moment I decided I always wanted to have money in savings so I would be prepared to help people I care about.

We all have our money stories. An important part of the legacy we leave the next generation is not our money, but our stories about how we learned to earn it, keep it, save it, grow it, give it and spend it.

Be sure you share your story with those you love and leave a rich legacy.

Please share one of your money stories in the comments below.