Young Kids and Money: Rich or Poor

My family is always sending me articles relevant to our business, and today’s mail proved to be no exception. My dad, a retired banker, sent me a piece from the June 2007 issue of The Parsippany Monthly. Though the article by Steven Brisgel addresses four topics for “Teaching Children the Financial Facts of Life,” two items resonate for me.

  1. At the beginning of the article, Steven mentions that many young people may receive “sizable inheritances.” Kids of wealth have difficulty with “value of money” issues just as poor or middle-class children do. It likely stems from the same problem, though, and that is the emphasis society and parents put on material things.
  2. Which brings me to Steven’s first (and arguably most important) topic, “Be a Role Model.” This is one of the most difficult areas for any of us to address, particularly if we have developed any bad habits (which would be about 100% of us) over our lifetimes.

We all know that kids do what you do and not what you say, so it is IMPERATIVE that we are mindful of this axiom. One thing that we try to do in our household is to be mindful of our use of the terms “need” and “want.”

Put your attention on this during the day, and you’ll see what I mean. Adjust what you say accordingly, making sure that you are using the terms properly. And gently correct your children when they identify a want as a need. Nobody really needs a nightgown emblazoned with his favorite character, does he?