Kids have always been sponges when it comes to learning from their parents. As an adult, I can reflect on what I learned from my mom and dad. I admit (and am proud of) that I’m a lot like they were/are. Unfortunately, I’ve spoiled my kids more than I should have and am paying the consequences at times with their attitudes.
Many of our grandparents and parents attitudes about money were greatly impacted by the Great Depression. For most people in those generations there is/was a scarcity or finite mentality regarding money. For the most part, this was probably a good thing. This group tends to keep debt to a minimum, are frugal spenders and are very good savers. I have many clients that fall into this category.
As this next generation of parents (those born in the 1960’s and 70’s) raise their kids in a completely different world, it is very apparent that the values of the previous generation are not being adopted by many in this group.
Many parents today have a tough time saying “no” to their kids when they ask for money or things. Kids today need new clothes every season, the latest gadget(s) and they go out to eat all the time. Most parents spend, spend, spend on all kinds of relatively little items that add up over time (and their kids aren’t even grateful). What ever happened to kids getting by with patches on their blue jeans?
I am blessed that my wife cooks most meals for me. I don’t think most people have ever computed just how much money they spend on “eating out” or fast food. Will the next generation of kids ever learn how to cook? I vividly remember my mother making a “grocery list” every week before going to Jewel (she avoided “impulse” shopping). When was the last time someone made such a list before going to the store? I remember going to my grandparents house and grandma showed me the little cabinet she used to keep money in to pay each utility bill. My grandpa was just given a few dollars a week to spend on himself. It wouldn’t be more than $30 in today’s money. Maybe that’s why I live on a fixed “cash allowance” for my personal spending.
What are parents telling their kids when they whip out the credit card at the grocery store and every cash register? Will kids have any clue what things actually cost? One of the most interesting things I do for my kids is give them money on vacation and tell them they pay for their own drinks. Guess what? They choose water over $3 orange juice for breakfast EVERY TIME.
What if we expanded this idea and gave kids a large weekly allowance and let them buy their own snacks and clothes? I think they would begin to look at prices much closer and become actual consumers compared to just asking mom or dad to buy them stuff, only to complain if we ever say “no”.
Why do I choose to write about this topic?
Because, most of you reading this are in for a RUDE AWAKENING when you review how little money you have saved compared to what your will need to be financially independent.
To makes matters worse, unlike our parents generation, very few of you will have employer pension plans to fall back on (who knows about social security) and you will be wonder “where did all our money go”. The answer may be that you wasted it on many insignificant purchases throughout our life.
If only you had been a little more frugal, and a better saver like the previous generation.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.