Religion, love and money
As a business management major with an emphasis in finance, I didn’t get around to taking my first financial course or actually having any finance knowledge taught in my classes until about my junior year in college.
My older brother taught me something valuable when we were sitting around the dining room table, deciding what classes I should choose for the following fall. He said, “There are three things they don’t teach you about in those schools that are more important than anything else: One, religion. Two, love and relationships. Three, money.”
While I do feel strongly about the first two, this isn’t the place to talk about those. I’m going to focus on money. They never really teach you how to balance a check book, what a mortgage is, or what a 401(k) is.
So who is all this left up to? You guessed it. You, as a parent, brother, uncle, aunt or grandparent, and let’s hope that you have been paying attention in your life. Really, you don’t have to know all the ins and outs of finance, but you do need to teach these precious children how to live within their means and know what is important in life.
Another quote comes to mind: “Money can’t buy you happiness, although, it can make misery easier to endure.”
So as I write this monthly article, I hope to help you in your quest to help both you and your children gain financial knowledge. Here are a few tips this month to get started out.
• Next time you pay bills, have the kids join you in the process. Have them go online with you to see how you pay through your bill pay system. Let them write the info on the check (just don’t let them sign.) Talk about the cost associated with what you’re paying. This should help them appreciate the things they have more.
It’s always easier to do things yourself and not have anyone in the way, but taking the time to teach a child, or anyone else for that matter, not only allows them to learn, it might also teach you something new. This process will help you to discover where your money is going while you are explaining it to them as well.
• Next time you are in the store and your child is begging for a treat or toy, say no. That’s right, don’t say “Maybe next time, you already have one of those,” just say no. I have children of my own, and it is easier to deviate them from what they desire then to say no, but then they feel like they deserve it and should have received it.
Instead, talk with them about how they can earn a reward and then go into the store with their money, and they can choose the reward they have earned. A lot of our consumer driven world today tells us that we deserve whatever our hearts desire, yet we haven’t earned it. I find people in their 20s and 30s want what their parents have today, now. Yet, they don’t realize or maybe just don’t acknowledge it took their parents years to obtain those things.
So the lesson is don’t start the process of telling them they can have something that they haven’t earned, it just makes it easier for them down the road to justify it.
Mike Davis is a Rifle-based financial representative with Northwestern Mutual, the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., Milwaukee, Wis., and its subsidiaries.
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