Right now, there’s pretty much NO financial education in schools (and although there are campaigns to try and change this, it’s not likely to happen overnight).
So if you want your children to have a good experience with money…
It’s going to be up to YOU to teach them.
But how? Where to start?
Especially if your own track record with money isn’t exactly perfect (who’s is?!).
Maybe you grew up with money being a constant source of negativity – and you want to avoid this for your own children.
So that’s what we’re talking in this week’s blog – how to talk to your kids about money the RIGHT way, to help set them up for a secure and prosperous future!
The first stage of changing anything is awareness. We need to realise that something is wrong before we can decide to do something about it.
The problem is that SO much of what we do, think and feel is a result of the programming we’ve absorbed throughout our lives.
Some of it is conscious – but huge parts are on such a deep subconscious level, we often have no idea why we believe what we do.
Which means it can come as quite a revelation when you finally uncover something (especially when it comes to money!).
Like as a child, I was terrified of spiders. When my mum saw one in the house, there was usually a scream – followed by it being swatted (or disappearing up the hoover).
As I grew up, logic told me there was no need to be frightened of spiders. They may be ugly, fast-moving and not my ideal pet – but they weren’t going to do me any harm.
But the scream and swat continued.
When I had my daughter, I decided I wasn’t going to pass this irrational response on to her.
I wanted to break the pattern – so I made a choice to do something different.
I created a new response. And despite the heart-racing, hands-shaking at first, we carefully used a glass and postcard to put ‘Mr Spider’ back outside where he belongs.
So what about money habits?
I’ve been doing a lot of work on my money mindset recently.
It’s part of my personal development, to help me adjust to a new level of business and new level of income.
And it’s highlighted HOW important it is to become aware of our money habits – both conscious and unconscious – so we can break the pattern and have our kids grow up making fewer mistakes than we did.
Here’s where to start!
Step #1: Awareness
Take some time to (honestly) look at how you talk about money and the behaviour you model for your children.
Ask yourself – is this what I want them to learn?
Do they see you stressed or worried about money? Fighting about it? Hear you talk about it in a negative way?
If it’s NOT what you want them to learn about money – we either need to make a change OR explain to them why the situation isn’t ideal (and how you’d like it to be instead).
Step #2: Changing the Money Message
Messages about money can be positive or negative.
But sometimes, it’s hard to see from the outside the impact of the financial choices we make!
- Do you freely give your children a generous allowance every week – but not expect them to contribute to the running of the house, or even keep their room tidy?
What’s the message? You can have what you want and you don’t need to work to get it…
- Do you or your partner earn good money and have nice things – but spend little time with your family, because of how many hours you put in at work?
What’s the message? Work hard, earn great money – but have no time for the fun stuff…
Or a subconscious belief so many of us will resonate with, from our own childhoods? You have to leave your family, to make good money…
Which just is NOT true!
We need to get aware and intentional.
Are the messages you’re giving your children right now the ones you WANT them to grow up believing?
And if not, what needs to change?
Step #3: Get practical!
Have you ever spoken to your children about your plans for when you retire and the mortgage is paid off?
About earning more than they spend…and then investing some of the surplus into assets that will grow over time?
About using a credit card ONLY if they can afford to pay it straight off or in dire emergencies (which do not include must-have concert tickets or that new pair of boots)?
About what to do with their wages, when they get their first part-time job?
About the financial choices available to them and their long-term impact?
Would your finances look different today, if your parents had taught you these things as a child? Would you have made different choices as an adult?
We live in society very much about the here and now. The idea of putting money away for when they’re old (anything over about 45 in their eyes) just isn’t something that they think about.
But each little decision they make now, will move them closer (or further away) from that big thing they want in life.
And while they may roll their eyes at you about being ‘sensible’ with money…the idea of “being rich” and building wealth can make their eyes light up!
Our children have time on their side. Money (obviously) compounds and quite simply, the earlier they start, the more they’ll have.
This book is a great place to start exploring this further. ‘The Slight Edge’ is one of my absolute favourites – if you can help your children to apply this principle to their money (and life in general), they’ll be well on their way to a prosperous future!
If your children are at that age where they’re starting to earn their own money for the first time – it’s a great opportunity for a practical money conversation.
My daughter got a part-time job this year, so we talked about how she was planning to spend the money. I made my suggestions and we came up with a compromise.
Each time she gets paid:
- She puts 1/3 into long-term savings (for going to uni, buying her first car etc)
- 1/3 into short-term savings (for big stuff like concert tickets, new clothes, trips away with friends)
- Leaving her 1/3 to spend on coffee, make-up and random tat she orders from Wish (which turns up weeks later from China, and she can’t even remember what she’s ordered).
Meaning although she can make her own mistakes – at least she’ll still have something to show for all the hours she’s put in.
And finally, speaking of compounding and the practical things you can do – this week, I helped parents use an inheritance to set up pensions for their primary school-aged children.
A relatively small sum invested over the next few years will give them £14,000 FREE money from HMRC in the form of tax relief. And after allowing the money to grow for 50+ years, will enable each child to retire with a six-figure pension pot (even allowing for inflation).
I’m not saying we should hand our children everything on a plate.
BUT giving them a good financial grounding before they go off to university or start work will help them avoid the stress of debt, hiding from the rent man or walking to work in the pouring rain because they can’t afford to repair their car (not fun, even with the latest iPhone and Beats headphones for company!).
So if that’s something I can help with too, here’s where you can get in touch.
And honestly, if you’ve NOT read ‘The Slight Edge’ – it really is a brilliant book, well worth digging into!
Until next time,