A dad’s point of view – value, money, our kids and the real world

There is a reason that money is on that short list of things that couples argue about most. What are the other things? Sex, and the kids, of course. With the state of our worldwide economy being in such flux, money is a more pressing issue for couples and families than any other time in my life. Financial literacy for our kids and for us parents is more important than ever before!

As a baby-boomer, it’s my unequivocal opinion that the only good thing ‘My Generation’ produced was some pretty terrific music. I blame our generation for the deterioration of the family unit; the decline in actual honest discourse at our campuses, and raising the most spoiled generation of children in human history. Oh, we’re also responsible for tearing down many pillars of society, ruining the planet through resource overuse and creating a generation of over-30-year-olds who have never grown up and still behave like toddlers in tantrums during meetings at work.

Threats to Our Lifestyle
Given the current economic turmoil, we now face genuine threats to our comfortable life-style. We’ve forgotten some tried and tested values that have been proven over centuries. As a result we’ve done a lousy job of preparing our kids for the real world (as most of us are still busy fighting our own demons and giving in to selfish desires).

I’m talking about the real world where the number of facebook friends or foursquare badges means squat. Where you get rewarded for doing something that someone else is prepared to pay for. The kind of real world where things don’t always work out and as a result there is unemployment, debt and bad luck. Yet, the real world of the United States still exceeds, in lifestyle and opportunity, the conditions of any other country throughout world history, even now!

Do our kids know this? What have we done as parents to open their eyes to these opportunities and what life skills can we teach them to fulfil their potential?

Teaching kids about money
A good place to start is teaching kids about making and managing money. I think every child needs to know that his or her allowances is not provided automatically, ideally it should be earned. Any age is good to start with this basic principle of “do something and receive a reward”. Our entire economic system is built on rewarding value creation – where no value is created, no reward should be received. Might as well start explaining this fundamental principle to our kids when they are young as they will have to deal with economic realities when they spend some time in the real world.

Yes, our teens might have a harder time finding work. But then again the opportunities for being self-employed are also far greater than ever before. That’s again where our job is to teach them persistence, creativity, and entrepreneurship! The values we pass on to our kids as based on the charactistics we display ourselves. Optimism, perseverance, resourcefulness, creativity, pride in a job well done, are all things that we can demonstrate every day.

Use every opportunity
When I was a child, my parents gave me the dinner bill whenever we ate out, to check the addition and be sure it was accurate. As soon as I understood percentages, I would calculate the amount of a tip to leave. Do the same with your children.

One summer, I gave my boys a book allowance instead of buying them books. Both were avid readers at the time and they learned the patience of waiting a couple/three weeks if they wanted a book that cost more than their weekly allotment. This is a simple example but very useful. The sooner our kids learn the value of saving, the sooner it will be part of their make-up.

Get them a bank account. Let them save for the things they want, via allowance they’ve earned. Give them the skill and knowledge of the value of a buck. Teach them to fish!

By Bruce Sallan


Bruce’s first book, A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation is available at Amazon, iTunes, BN.com, and the store at BruceSallan.com. “The Bruce Sallan Show – A Dad’s Point-of-View,” Bruce’s one-hour radio show, is available anytime, via live stream, or to download for free on BruceSallan.com. Find Bruce on Facebook by joining his “A Dad’s Point-of-View” page. You can also follow Bruce on Twitter. Bruce hosts a TweetChat called #DadChat each Thursday from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., PST.

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