Never Too Young To Learn

Never Too Young To Learn

Most of us were never taught how to manage money. That is why so many of us have made so many mistakes when it comes to money. We spent more than we made. We never started saving. We abused and overused credit. We did not participate in an individual or employer sponsored retirement plans. And on and on and on.

One of the biggest mistakes we made regarding money was to pass our bad habits on to our children. Although many of us did not learn good money lessons from our parents, we learned and/or picked up their bad money habits. Good or bad, there are lessons to be learned about money and your children are watching.

I recall an incident that made this very clear to me. I was presenting a financial education seminar to a non profit organization after work. The group consisted of 8 – 10 people assembled in a conference room, and one of the attendees brought her son along with her. He was 3 or 4 years old. When I am in an intimate setting like this, I usually go around the room to do introductions. Even though the child was only 3 or 4 years old, I wanted to include him. He gave me his name, but what he said next surprised me. He showed me his sneakers and said, “Look, I’m wearing (name brand).” I said, “OK”. Then I told the adults that we would talk about this during the presentation.

We all value money differently. Part of the reason is based on the way we were raised and the messages we heard about money. My first my thought about the child was that he already had learned to view things as status symbols based on the name brand. This can lead to over spending, over using credit, and not saving for the future.

Since that child had learned about status, he was also able to learn about saving. There are age appropriate lessons we can teach children such as how to earn money, how to give a portion to charity and/or to help others, and how to save money. You are never too young to learn how to manage money. If you did not learn how to manage money when you were young, I encourage you to break the cycle of financial illiteracy and teach your children today. They will thank you later. If you are not confident about your money management skills, there are many resources available (including this blog) to help you. All the best!

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