As a parent I worry about a lot of things. My kids’ health, if they’re dressed warmly enough, if they’re eating a balanced diet. Whether they’ll be accepted into the right school and how I’ll manage the carpool run. Who their friends are. What musical instrument they’re going to play. And so on and so forth.
But I especially worry about their financial futures. I’ve read in a number of places that my generation (I was born in 1974) is the first that won’t automatically have a better quality of life than their parents. And our children will have to struggle even more than we will. Now whether or not these statements are true, I’m not sure- the point of this post is not to debate them.
Without worrying about the state of social security (in France or the United States) or long term job security or any other external factors, I’d also like not to have to worry about how my children are going to handle their own finances. I believe that like so many other things, frugality is a learned behavior. This is good, as in many ways I’m pretty frugal. But it’s also bad, because in many ways, I’m a spendthrift!
What I would like is for my children to do it differently than I did: to have an easier time of it, if you were. To be less bogged down in student loan or consumer debt. To be able to resist the temptation to buy that shiny new toy. To be able to balance their checkbook and budget their income. And finally, to recognize the importance of saving, from a very young age.
As with anything else, the best way to transform a desire into an action is through a plan of attack. Therefore this week we’re starting the oldest two on an allowance. We’ll be helping them allocate their money into three accounts: spend it now, and short term and long term savings. I hope that this will be a good first lesson in becoming more then almost frugal!
Do you believe that good financial management and frugality are learned behaviors? How can one best help kids to become financially reasonable adults?
And don’t forget to come back to tomorrow’s Share this Thursday to leave links to any posts you’ve written on the topic.