Money smarts are one thing, but teaching your kids what to do with money without first teaching them how to get it – it’s a bit dumb don’t you think?
1 – Work first then play
In no way am I a good parent in the traditional sense, just ask my wife. She’s the good cop I’m the bad cop. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that my generation has children who may not be trained well to work in the new world – I think this is because my parenting to a certain extent, comes from my parents. My parents gave us chores to do but not that regularly and not at a young enough age. Life was pretty good for the ol’ baby boomers (in general), so why would I know any better? I suspect that my generation (the ‘gen-x’ers) vaguely believe that teaching kids to work is a form of punishment. Of course, you’re the parent who doesn’t believe this, but generally speaking, this seems to be the vibe out there. I know because when I’m yelling at my kids to clean my car better, I see the neighbours whispering about it over the fence. Maybe I’m just paranoid. We honestly believe in the background that if we punish our children, we’re breaking the law, so as a consequence our weekends are full of trying to keep our kids entertained, fed, and happy. This involves constant intervention. I think we’re missing something.
Teaching your kids to work first before they play teaches them to ‘feel the weight of fun’. There’s always a cost to fun, even if it’s the opportunity cost of not doing something else slightly more important. Work before play doesn’t ruin their day, it may just make them appreciate it a lot more.
2 – Those who work deserve their pay
Most children honestly believe that their home, their lifestyle and their friends are free – but they’re not. You live where you do, your kids go to a school where they do, and they have certain friends like they do, largely as a function of your income. That’s harsh for me to say and not entirely true for you perhaps, but pretty accurate for most I’d suggest. The good things in life are all paid for by you, and you deserve them. When your kids work, they deserve their pay too (and yes, not just with money) – you need to teach them this and not just that ‘everyone has to do it’, or you miss an opportunity to teach them something great.
As a side effect, your kids will grow up valuing their time and the time of others – this is going to be important in the new world more so than today. Personally, there’s nothing more annoying than when people use my time unnecessarily – If I work, I deserve my pay too – and so do you!
3 – Financial discipline, it’s like good table manners.
Have you noticed that most people (but not you of course) talk with their mouths full of food?! Well, you will now! Most children are not taught table manners or financial discipline – but you can change this if you want to:
A – Save. Save for a rainy day. It’s not always sunny so plan for it!
B – Spend. For fun and for necessity – life’s for enjoying right?
C – Give. This isn’t just about you, so put your money where your belief is, and you’ll prosper.
D – Invest. Engage with a market after you’ve done some research – your money can work.
Unless children do the right things with the money that they’ve been taught to earn, they won’t be able to connect the dots. Wisdom with money calls for good throughput, in and out. If money doesn’t know how to reach your children, and if your children don’t know how to manipulate money, they may not get much of it.
You’ve heard of tough love no doubt, but you’ve possibly never received it much. If you want your kids to really succeed in life, teach them now or face a liability later on. Let’s get real: Right when you’re ready to retire your kids are going to be coming to you cap in hand asking for assistance for their first home. Is this something you want to have happen during the most vulnerable time of your life (financially speaking). Do the hard yards now, you won’t regret it later, and your kids will thank you for it (if they have manners).