As I was asking a new client to describe her earliest memory around money, she started recalling how her parents dealt with money. She remembered how often they disagreed about managing their money, how often she remembers hearing her Dad say how “you kids are going to drive us into the poor house”. She grew up in Long Island and was raised in a Irish Catholic family with 9 kids. There was a constant sense of scarcity in her life and that feeling of never having enough stayed with her as adult and permeated her relationship with money in many ways that were unconscious. At the current age of 58, and by all intents and purposes, very well off financially, she still feels, after all these years, that if she’s not careful, she’ll wind up in the “poorhouse”.
The reason I bring this story up is to remind all the parents reading this post of how powerful your words and actions are when it comes to your relationship with money. What you say, or sometimes what you don’t say about money is being recorded by your kids for future use. How you spend, save and earn money as well as how you talk about it has a huge impact on your children’s future relationship with money.
You see, one day, your children may be having a meeting with a financial planner that asks the same questions I ask clients. And out will pop the memories of their earliest childhood and how you dealt with your relationship with money. As parent’s, you are planting financial seeds that will bloom later in life for your kids. This is where being a positive role model around money could reap huge benefits down the road for your children.
So as we live through one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression, be mindful of what you say, how you discuss money and if you’re projecting any fear or panic onto your kids. Remember, they’re paying close attention to not just what you say, but what you do. If you find yourself in a challenging situation financially, find constructive ways to problem solve with your kids if they’re old enough and teach them now how to cope with downturns in our economy. This is a wonderful time to teach your children some very valuable lessons that will help them later in life. The more you help them now to develop a healthy relationship with money, the greater the odds of the financial seeds you plant turning into abundance and prosperity when they’re adults. And last but not least, when the time is right, get them started on the road to success by reading Your Money or Your Life.