March 15, 2015

As a huge fan of National Public Radio, I’m THRILLED to be featured on Marketplace. The NPR show, which is about personal finance and business, wanted to know how my immigrant parents impacted my money values.

This is one of my favorite topics. How we handle our finances is so revealing! Follow the money trail and you can decode the story of my life.

There were early phases when I spent a fortune on designer clothes, fancy jewelry, hot cars. I also had an austerity stage of paying off credit card debt. After that, I went on a self-improvement binge that led to buying stacks of how-to books on

For a while, I felt guilty about spending money on art classes and oil paints. Who was I to think I could be an artist? But now, I’m like, whatever. These dollars are mine, all mine. I’m managing my bills and investments. I deserve to pursue my passions and have fun.

My control-freak parents raised me on their tales of poverty and hunger. Don’t waste food! Save money! Growing up in Chinatown, we hoarded every rubber band and scrap paper that came through our apartment door. At least, that’s what it felt and looked like.

On the bright side, that was the beginning of my passion for recycling. And yes, I still save rubberbands and scrap paper! Mom and Dad were tough. But they left me with many great lessons…

If you have three minutes and three seconds, I hope you’ll check out the segment. The producer, Jenny Ament, knows how to conduct an interview. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her. Thank you NPR and Jenny!

Click to listen: NPR Marketplace: My money story: when family values battle happiness.

By the way, images reveal a lot too. Here are some pictures of what it was like to grow up with my parents. :)

betty collageHow about you? What’s your money story?