Advice

Financial skills vital to raise smart, not spoiled kids

By Ben Law
May 7 2022 - 2:00am
Where will your kids learn financial skills?

Kids are growing up in an increasingly abundant world packed with more opportunity than any previous generation has seen before. Arguably this has contributed to a growing sentiment that kids today are spoiled, entitled and don't appreciate hard work or the value of a dollar.

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In many ways it understandable given how social media and some types of advertising promote materialism, consumption and a "you deserve it now" culture. Some sections of society seem to promote and even celebrate financial irresponsibility.

It's not how I was brought up and these aren't the values I want instilled in my daughter. I want to raise her to be grateful, self-confident and to become a financially responsible young adult, and I believe this will be critical to her future success and happiness.

The good news is that children aren't born with money skills or pre-determined values around money; they learn them. Kids start learning and developing their feelings and attitudes about money at a very young age and the blueprint they develop will stay with them for their entire life, inevitably influencing their life for better or worse.

So if financial skills are so important who is responsible for teaching kids? Their parents, their grandparents, their school?

Disappointingly, right now the education system will teach your kids how to do long division, write a poem or dissect a frog but they don't teach them simple life skills like how to budget, what's good debt vs bad debt, or anything about investing, saving, compound interest, superannuation... and the list goes on. Our kids finish school with an 'education' but they are woefully underprepared in the money skills required to successfully navigate life.

Since our education system doesn't provide the skills and if, like me, you don't want your kids getting their values and beliefs from social media, the movies or TV, then it's clearly up to you as their parents or grandparents.

The good news is that I recently read that around 75 per cent of parents think that providing financial guidance is part of their parental duty. The bad news is that only 36pc know how the hell to do that and that's our problem to overcome.

It's probably a fair bet that you're not some sort of financial guru and maybe you still have a lot to learn yourself. But my experience has taught me that a good place to start the journey is to simply start talking to your kids about finances and encourage them to have good beliefs around money. The knowledge that money is neither good nor evil and that it is just a tool to be used responsibly to improve their lives and those around them, is a bloody good place to start.

If you choose to provide financial guidance and intentionally educate your kids about money, then you can shape the way your family approaches the topic of money and help raise a generation of smart and not spoiled kids.

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