I don’t feel I’ve done my “job” as a parent if I haven’t taught my kids good financial skills. I wasn’t taught about finances when I was growing up. And didn’t do that great of a job on my first go-around with a teenager.
What I knew about my parent’s modus operandi was:
- never spend money
- pay the boys, but not the girls – even if they do the same work
- don’t give your children access to money and keep them out of stores
- whoever makes the money, makes the rules
- women are dependent upon the generosity (or not) of men
- money isn’t meant to be used for fun
So I kind of went the opposite route with my oldest kid by letting him do whatever he wanted with whatever money he earned. He blew most of it on regular teen things like eating out, games, videos, books, an overpriced cell phone plan… In the process, he learned to save (pay yourself first methods), sort of learned to budget, learned how to write a cheque (no, it’s not intuitive apparently - some kind of weird generational mental block appears).
There are a lot of things that I still control with my oldest kid that I’m (very slowly) trying to transition over to him. Things like doing his own taxes – which I have a hard time letting go of. You know, being an accountant and all. Also things like understanding when you put money into a TFSA and when you choose to save in an RRSP instead.
Right or wrong, sometimes I go with his strengths, the greatest one of which is an abhorrence of debt of any kind – including owing his mom. So I do things like invest in his RRSP or pay his insurance for him (points on the CC!)… and have him pay me back. Hey – whatever works.
I’m of the mindset that until you can see that your saving efforts really are paying off in terms of more money in your (future) pocket, there’s not much motivation for younger people to save. So he’s learning at 24 what it took me until 40 to really get.
Best of all, I think my investment of time is paying off as he calculates what it would take to buy a house or condo, have a friend pay a big chunk of his mortgage as a roommate and save oodles of money that way. I wish I’d thought of that.
Good parents give their children roots and wings. ~ Jonas Salk