If I knew what I now know about money when I finished university and got married I would have been much wiser and wealthier. How many of us feel like this? It is a pity that our educational system places so much emphasis on academic achievements and does very little to prepare the child they are nurturing for real life.
My take on this issue to is to start when they are young and teach them principles that will last them a life time. And I don’t mean sit down and lecture them about money.
There are simple skills a 3 year old can start learning that will help them plan with what they earn, and grant them the will power to wait before acquiring that desired item if only they could control themselves! This is important as we look out our failed system of handling money that has now driven the country into a recession like none we have ever seen. So what kind of skills am I talking about?
Delayed Gratification is a skill everyone needs in order to be able to plan and make good money decisions that they can work at, and achieve. It is not as easy as we think, but we do know that practice makes perfect. So we should start young so that they can develop good money muscles.
A hungry baby wants his bottle of milk now; he will cry, wail and then throw a tantrum until you feed him. As a child grows older it is important to teach him to wait and not have everything when he wants it.
It starts with routines, set a time for eating, set a time for watching telly and playing games. All these are training tools that will give your child the skills to manage resources well in the future. Why because he is used to it. You cannot expect someone who has had not practice of waiting for something to now decide to wait 3 months before he buys that new iPhone because he knows if he does now he may not be able to pay his child’s school fees! Let’s face it some of the real reasons why we can’t meet our financial responsibilities has nothing to do with the amount of money we earn!
I have seen from personal experience what damage a parent’s attitude to parenting can have on the children. This idea of ‘I suffered when I was a child. My children are not going to go through the same experience.’ So you give them everything when they ask for it, before they think of asking for it, even if they don’t need it? Things, things, things!
Some children can’t go to the side shop to buy soap and come back with the correct change! The house girl does that. They are even in control of the house maid more than you are! That is actually an issue to talk about some other time.
None of these practices will help a child as they grow into adulthood, at best they will know how to spend money, but they will not be able to make good money decisions as they are not used to waiting before they get what they want. You will not always be around, this is a fact of life so please help the children learn skills that will make them responsible financial leaders of tomorrow. There are lots more to consider when we teach children about financial responsibility but this is a start.
Remember I said if I had known what I now know I would have done things differently. I had to learn that you can be rich, but not wealthy. We need to teach children how to build wealth, savings, investments, penny shares. Money is not wealth: this is financial intelligence. These are important lessons for our youth. Imagine if our leaders actually built wealth rather than what they have now done to the country’s money? Nigeria would not be where it is today!
Let me know what you think in the comment section below.