Hi everyone. today- a subject I have been thinking quite a lot about. well -for years actually.
I have 3 kids- and I am not sure I did a good enough job with them on the financial subject.
when my 2 grown-ups were little, I didn’t let them in on every financial contemplation I had- mainly because I wasn’t frugal as I am now, and though I never enjoyed spending money, I also didn’t aspire towards early retirement. I am actually not really sure I had specific financial goals -until about 4 years ago when it became clear to me that I had to get going if I wish to get anywhere financially.
My youngest, on the other hand, turned to be very frugal and environmental, (maybe he didn’t just “turn out to be like that, I am fully aware of the impact I had on his way of thinking),
He is so concerned about financial issues, that one day, after hearing me contemplate whether or not to buy something, he asked me in concern if we have enough money to survive.
This was a wake-up call for me.
I thought children should not be excluded from financial issues, but I wasn’t going in the right direction here. he was 10 at the time. (now 14).
I sat down with him and explained that I believe in being frugal and therefore try to buy only necessary stuff -with deliberate pampering “splurges” from time to time. those deliberated “splurges” come after much contemplation too considering whether or not this splurge is the right thing to splurge on, how much value will I derive from it, and is it the best deal I can get on the splurge.
I explained that thinking about future goals and saving money in order to achieve those goals is something I believe in. and so I try to pay attention to the money I pay and cut down on unnecessary expenses.
I explained the basic income- expense thing, a little bit about investing, and then he got tired from all of it and went back to his computer.
So the question remained.
I believe children should be told the truth about many issues concerning grown-up lives:
When any one of my kids was having trouble at school- I shared my struggles -both in school and nowadays. didn’t lay it heavy on any of them, but I most certainly didn’t discard their troubles by saying something like- “it’s nothing’ get over it, you should be stronger”.
Life can be tough, and let’s face it- it doesn’t get easier, and I think letting your children think that you are an infallible saint isn’t going to help them confront troubles that occur in their life. it will only make them feel that there is something wrong with them- if their role model- their parent- never experienced issues like he or she is experiencing.
This leads me to financial education: I believe that once you establish a relationship with your kids that is based on being true and fallible -within age+comprehension limits of course- I wouldn’t let a 5-year-old in on major financial issues or failures) then you can gradually let them in on your financial thinking process.
My middle son is a YOLO advocate, no changing his mind, and believe me I tried. he is now 22, looking to find himself- and postponing going to university- “until he feels like it”.
I respect his way of thinking, although where I live university isn’t super expensive and you cannot land a decent job anywhere without a uni degree. this is his decision.
I did let him in o my financial thinking about his future- but put no pressure on him to go my way.
There is a fine line between educating your kids on financial matters- and scaring the hell out of them.
I thought maybe a more remote -academic approach should have been used, but the attention span of kids is ridiculously short, and financial issues tend to rise up generally when they want you to buy them something and you have to say no.
This exact moment- in my opinion- is not a good moment to start preaching your frugal theory. it will do one thing for sure- leave the room- either physically or if they are more polite- only their mind will drift away, and they will not be willing to listen- let alone understand and accept- your point of view.
In my experience- the best results in getting your kids attention- is to have these kinds of conversation when they -and you- are relaxed, no one is super tired and hungry, no one is on the phone, and there is some kind of reference to cling to.
I have no way to assure you your kids will see eye to eye with your financial thinking. as you can see- one of my kids most certainly does not. but the main thing is to find the right time to pitch the idea of smart financial conduct- with demonstrations from your own household if you wish- both failures- and successes- to implement the points.
would love to hear your take on this complicated issue.
p.s.thank you pixels for yet another on the spot photo for free!