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Capital One

When Nyna Sorn came to America, her family had nothing. So she's had to spend her life making tough financial decisions.

All photos courtesy of Upworthy.

When Nyna was only five years old, she and her parents escaped the Khmer Rouge — the brutal regime of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) in Cambodia. The family had lost everything, and that meant that they had to scrimp and save in order to get by in their new country of the United States.


When she grew up, Nyna made a promise to herself: she would work as hard as she could in order to ensure that her children didn't have a childhood like hers. She would do her very best to provide for them in ways that her parents couldn't provide for her. She would make sure that their future was bright and full of possibilities.

"My dream is to see all my children successful," Nyna says.

Nyna's tried to impart her perspectives on money and saving onto her children, but as her kids got older, she's become concerned about their spending habits.

Nyna and her daughter, Macara.

Nyna has been a single mom for the past decade. While her youngest child isn't yet old enough to learn about responsible spending, she's worked hard to teach her older children, who are 15 and 18, how to save money when they can.

However, she worries that they're being swayed by society's proclivity for instant gratification, and becoming too materialistic. She's especially concerned about her daughter Macara who, at 18, will soon be in charge of her own finances.

Nyna and Macara's situations are very different. At 17, Nyna was already a mother. She didn't have any financial support. That's why she feels it's important for Macara to understand the possible impacts of the money decisions she's making now. But while Macara appreciates everything her mother's done for her (including paying for college), she finds it difficult to focus on her finances.

"I don't want to think about it too deep," says Macara. "I don't want to be in the future. I want to be in the present. I don't want to be stressed out."

It's not easy to talk about money, but Nyna knows that being open and honest with her daughter is the only way to help her make smart decisions.

Sometimes Nyna feels like she's being too hard on Macara, but it's only because she wants her to have a bright future.

"I want you to be able to do better than I did," Macara tells her daughter. "I believe in you. I believe that if you wanted to do something, you can do it."

“I'm just trying to help you. I'm trying to pave a path."

These kinds of conversations may be tough, but they're necessary.

By sitting down and talking about money as more than an abstract concept, Nyna's showing her daughter that she's someone she can always talk to about her future, financial or otherwise.

"It's like a signal for me to do something," says Macara. "Can we keep having these conversations?"

"You need something, you can talk to me. I will always support you," Nyna responds.

To learn more and Nyna and Macara Sorn, check out the video below.

Openly discussing money is an important part of raising financially literate childrenThis mother-daughter conversation shows why it's important families talk about money, even if it's not always easy
Posted by Upworthy on Monday, December 3, 2018
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