We expect so much of our children. We have high hopes. In fact, our pride is often tied to how our children behave and their accomplishments. We push them to be better, to do things we wished we could do, to do things we never could. Regardless of whether this is good or bad, it’s interesting that so much of who we are is tied to our children and grandchildren.
Almost every parent I talk with wants their children to be financially successful, yet how many of these parents are examples of financial success themselves? How many of them have demonstrated the habits, willpower, and decision making processes to be successful?
Remember when your children were young and pliable? All they wanted to do was everything that you did. Children mimic their parents. No matter how little you think they are paying attention, they are absorbing. Your children’s future habits pertaining to saving, spending, giving and investing are being formed by watching you, their parents and grandparents. What are you doing to influence their future habits?
- Spending more than you should?
- Not having a budget?
- Saving less than you should?
- Talking about success but with no plan?
- Making emotional financial decisions?
- Gambling with your investments?
If any of these are true, why would you expect your children to be any different than you?
I believe there is another mindset that is also detrimental to children. If you are financially successful, but feel children should enjoy life to the fullest and are too young to worry about money or success, this too is a mistake. At a young age children have the capability and need to learn:
- The opportunity of saving
- The benefit of work
- The benefit of long-term plans
- The fact that success takes suffrage
- That financial freedom is not free
If young people don’t learn this, and the habits to be successful before they’re 20, I believe it’s harder for them to be successful after they’re 20. Success needs to be part of someone’s aura, part of who they are. It doesn’t mean they will meet every challenge, but it means they’ll have the habits, stamina and vision to work through struggles, failures and the tough times.
So what should your children see you do, whether they are 2 or 22? The best gift you can give to those that follow you is to demonstrate the following eleven habits:
- Save regularly
- Do not buy things you cannot afford
- Have a budget
- Go without things that you would like to have, but should not have
- Invest regularly
- Invest for the long-term
- Do not watch short-term returns (especially do not respond)
- Have an emergency fund
- Have goals and know how to measure whether you’re on track to meet them
- Give to those less fortunate
- Be intentional about success
If you think your children should be successful, if you think they should have more than you, or that they should have more than the average person, then demonstrate the habits for financial success in your own life. Your children and grandchildren are watching!
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.