I often wonder how young is too young to start a financial education with my son? What lessons do I provide for him? Is he too spoiled? And many more questions like this….and I’m sure I’m not alone here.
I have now come to realise that he is already getting a financial education whether I like it or not and this happens on occasions like the following:
• A tooth falls out and the tooth fairy appears
• Anytime he asks for something at the shops
• When he is at his friends’ houses and sees what they have or what they may not have in comparison to him
• Any birthday party that he goes too, including his own
• The list goes on and on……
He realises how much he gets from the tooth fairy and what his friends get; he realises when I say he can or cannot have something from the shops and the reasons I may provide; he looks at the different presents people get and what is given. Also, coming from a separated household, he compares what happens in each house. In all of this, what I see is that our kids are continuing to grow up in a very materialistic world and also one where spending more is a key to happiness.
I now see that the answer to my first questions is that there isn’t a time that is too young to start a healthy learning cycle so that he isn’t growing up as spoiled, so that he is growing up being more grounded and also smarter about money.
Some of the things I have started are the following:
1. His pocket money is split between spending and saving. He must put a certain amount in each category and he cannot use the saving amount for normal expenditure, it must be a targeted goal he wants to save for. I am soon going to bring in a third group called ‘giving’ and then he must donate this money each year to a cause of his own choosing (which I will help him with if he is struggling to decide on this).
2. He doesn’t get pocket money based on jobs that he does, as he just has to do these to help support the natural running of the family rather than be paid for them. If he wants to go above and beyond this, then there may be rewards for that.
The other great thing I have retaught myself is that the greatest value he holds over anything is time together with his family and friends, not the next and best Skylander that is about to be
brought to market. So, I guess you are never too young or too old to continue learning about your financial education….
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