In recent generations in countries like Australia as we have become more affluent there has been a natural tendency to want to give the next generation more than ‘we’ had. The issue is that when we give with no expectation of anything in return, the next generation will become entitled, not appreciating the value of money nor sacrifice, therefore perpetuating the what’s in it for me attitude. This article will first look at the wider picture then offer some common sense solutions to address this unhealthy mindset, so we can imagineer a better world.
Entitlement is in many families, however it is also in many organisations especially where government’s have given away money even in foreign aid with few checks and balances of how that money is spent or with minimal emphasis on the concept of future sustainability in mind. We know this as welfare mentality, where people come to believe that the government owes them and they seemingly unknowingly have given over power to the government. When we have free education and free health services for example, then we also have largely given up our choice of what is to be taught to the next generation or what health services may be provided. Just look at a country like Venezuela to see how quickly one the richest nations became one of the poorest and most chaotic.
So what does a futurist’s solution to money and family look like? I believe one of the foundational building blocks of society is family, whatever your family looks like. Our emotions are vital so our emotional intelligence is also vital. There is an old proverb that wherever your treasure is there your heart will be also. For many this is family, just read your credit card statement to confirm how much you are spending to please your family! I have come to understand that emotional intelligence or ‘emo smarts’ are indeed the major component of financial intelligence or ‘money smarts’.
We can easily train up our children, that is future generations, by implementing the common sense approach of money smarts, so healthy boundaries in relationships including money. Following are a few suggestions of many that are tried and true:
Give pocket money to children and youth for ‘wants’. Of course, as parents we need to provide the basics. Wants and desires are another matter.
When the emotions are high as with the desire for the latest pair of sports shoes or latest smart phone, it is a perfect opportunity to promote money smarts. Encourage your child to come up with a plan to save the money to purchase the item. Ideas may include things like:
Doing extra chores – I suggest pay the going rate for an unskilled labourer and at the age appropriate level where you can. Check out the hourly pay rate for someone to wash a car for example.
Coming up with a business idea such as creating cards to sell at a local market or selling unwanted items that particular child no longer uses or needs.
Work with your children to get the best deal online for a second-hand item. Or for clothes consider buying at opportunity shops.
If you are in a position to encourage further for big items, consider matching dollar for dollar. This may be a for a second-hand car.
When young ones learn the value of money, it usually translates into gratefulness and respect for parents and a desire to invest for the future to obtain wants or achieve desires. Of course, it can also lead to pride and too much independence, however that is another story for another day.
Much has been written on this topic, however not so much for younger people that I have seen. My last three books cover various aspects of the above. Refer to the information at the bottom of the page for details.
When we can exercise self-control over our finances including with our loved ones, we are well on the way to truly gaining freedom in our lives. Without the stress of financial burdens and with this newfound knowledge of how to have money work for you, you become able to dream or imagineer again.
Remember we CAN change the world ONE day at a time, ONE person at a time, and ONE decision at a time.