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How To Teach Your Kids To Have The Right Money Mind In This Materialistic World

How To Teach Your Kids To Have The Right Money Mind In This Materialistic World

It’s no secret we live in a materialistic world.

We’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us to buy more stuff, even if we have no need for it all.

It’s bad enough full-grown adults fall into the trap of spending more than they can afford. But it’s even worse when children grow up thinking it’s totally okay to do so.

As parents, we need to teach kids about money management, materialism, and how to find happiness without overspending.

If we do that, we can perhaps create a better future for our world as a whole.

There are a few ways we can do this:

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1. Teach kids about money management

Budgeting and money management gets more complicated as you grow older, but it all sits on the foundation of a single premise:

Don’t spend more than you make.

When we teach kids about money, we need to teach them about long-and short-term savings. They need to understand that if they spend money on candy today, they’ll be that much further away from being to afford a new toy or video game. In a world full of instant gratification, children need to truly grasp the concept of saving their money for another day.

Children also need to be taught about saving for emergencies. Although “emergency” in kid-terms would be a broken toy or ruined book that needs to be replaced, they still need to understand that, most of the time, money isn’t a commodity – it’s a necessity.

2. Teach kids the difference between wants and needs

As just mentioned, kids need to understand that money isn’t just what people use to buy whatever they want. Adults put most of their money toward ensuring they have a roof over their head, clothes on their bodies, and food on the table.

This isn’t to say parents should make their kids pay their share into the monthly electricity bill, but they do need to know that money should be spent on necessities first, superfluous items second. But first, they need to be taught the difference between wants and needs.

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Simply put: A “need” is something you can’t live without, while a “want” is something that – while it may be fun and exciting – isn’t necessary for survival. Kids who grow up understanding this will be less likely to make impulse purchases, and be less likely to overspend, in the future.

3. Teach kids about the psychology of advertising

Going along with the last point, parents should talk to their children about the commercials and advertisements they see on TV and the internet on a daily basis.

An advertisement’s job is to make potential customers think they absolutely need the product being advertised – even if it means sacrificing an actual “need” in their life. As mentioned before, some adults have a hard enough time battling this overwhelming desire to buy, buy, buy. But children actually lack the capacity to understand the psychology behind advertising, and are much more likely to be taken advantage of.

By teaching children to think critically about the messages advertisers send them, we can ensure they’ll learn to spend their money wisely and avoid being sold false promises.

4. Teach kids work ethic

At the risk of sounding cliche, kids need to know that money doesn’t grow on trees.

It sounds simple, but most kids really don’t understand how hard their parents work – because they never see it happen. They don’t see the paycheck their father brings home, and they don’t see the checks written to the utility companies. Since they don’t see all this, children often think money is an infinite resource.

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We adults know that money only comes from diligent effort and hard work. We need to instill this idea in our children as soon as they’re old enough to clean their room and make their bed on their own. Instead of just giving them an allowance, make them earn it. Explain how they can earn more by doing more to help out around the house – but also that not everything they do will result in them earning more.

It’s the way of the world, right? The earlier they learn, the better off they’ll be.

5. Say “No” Once in a While

Remember: You’re the adult, here.

No matter how well you teach your kids about money management, the difference between wants and needs, and withholding pleasure, they’re still going to try to get you to compromise as much as possible at times.

The problem is, once you start compromising, it becomes a slippery slope, and becomes harder to say “no” when you really can’t afford a new toy or gadget for them to play with.

When children are upset, they don’t listen to reason. If you say “no” and they start to pout, you won’t be able to teach them anything about money management until they’ve calmed down. For the time being, there’s no shame in falling back on the “Because I said so” card.

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It may lead to a short-lived tantrum, but they’ll eventually learn the lesson you’re aiming for – as long as you reinforce it and don’t budge on the decision you’ve made.

6. Practice What You Preach

Above all else, as a parent you need to act as a model for your children when it comes to money management and materialism.

If they see you going to the mall every weekend and returning with new clothes, new shoes, and other superfluous items, what do you think they’re going to do?

Of course, you work hard for your money and deserve nice things. But don’t confuse “nice things” with “things you want right now and will never use again.” Before you buy something, put some thought into how you’re going to use it so that it doesn’t end up collecting dust.

Teach your children that they should only spend money if they’re going to use whatever they buy wisely. As long as they have a practical use for everything they spend their money on, they’ll avoid overspending and falling into the trap of materialism.

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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