By Heather O.
Ok, enough talk about disease. Yech, so depressing. Let’s talk about something everybody loves-MONEY!
The other day, while sitting around at the bank, waiting for DH to finish up working out our new mortgage stuff and trying to keep my child from destroying everything in sight out of frustration and boredom (really, banks do nothing for 4 year olds), I came across the book _Rich Dad, Poor Dad_. Now, this was a particularly swanky bank, as banks go, and they had a little sitting area with some books on a shelf, obviously for your perusement. (Is that a word? It sounds like a cross between “amusement” and “peruse”, and I think I just made it up. Oh well. I’m gonna let it slide. I guess I could go one step farther and say “Perusement amusement,” but then I would be really outside the lines of appropriate grammar, and the grammar police would surely show up and beat me with their danglng participles.) And really, how many banks do you know have little sitting areas with a small library? All they needed was a basket of fruit and some Caribean music piped in, and I would be hard pressed to say whether we were at a financial institution, or some tropical island resort!
Well, ok, not really, because the whole, “Welcome to Bank Of America, can I help you?” mantra that was repeated loudly every 3 minutes by the teller working the drive up sort of burst the fanstasy, but regardless, I just thought comfy chairs were fairly awesome when you are tired of life matters in general and just need a place to put your feet up while you watch as your child slowly melts down after days of househunting and boring meetings and starts hucking complimentary bank mints across the lobby. Good times, I tell you, good times.
Ok, so in the midst of this blissful luxury, like I said, I came across this Dad book, and it’s all about money. I didn’t have much time to be perusally amused, having to dodge flying confections, as it were, but there were a couple of points that I caught in between mint missiles.
Point number 1: The traditional lessons our generation was taught about money, education, etc, do not apply to our children’s generation. No longer is a college education worth what it once was, and it is no guarantee to financial security in the future. I’m not sure I totally buy this one, but it’s something to think about.
Point number 2: Even if they did apply, our generation is woefully inept and neglectful in teaching our children how to properly manage money, leaving out serious basic info like “How to manage a credit card”. Credit is so vital in today’s financial world, people need to understand how it works. Given how much debt America is in, I could totally buy this one.
Point number 3: Most people often say this about things they want but think they can’t have: “We can’t afford it”. The author says a much better way of approaching life and managing money is not to limit yourself with this statement, but rather to substitute it with the thought, “HOW can I afford what I want?” That way, you start to think creatively about money, and you make your money work for you, instead of working for your money. I LOVE this idea of changing your thinking from, “We can’t afford it” to “HOW can we afford it?” I haven’t totally applied this yet, but it’s definitely something that is sort of ruminating in the back of my mind these days. Especially since after my little taste of tropical island resort I got back at that bank, I’ve had a good hankering for the real thing.
In all my reading about parenting, what we have to teach our kids, etc, etc, really, I’m not sure I’ve ever come across one that says that you should have serious talks with your children about money. And when DH and I talked about it, we realized that really, neither one of our parents did much in the way of educating us, beyond the whole, “A credit card does not mean you get things for free”. Both my sister and I got into some minor financial trouble out of complete ignorance. I’d like to say I was a bit more with it–my trouble had to do with not understanding taxes, hers had to do with not understanding that an ATM will still give you money if you have overdraft protection even though you really don’t have a cent in your checking account. Still, the problems could have been solved by some simple financial lessons from our father, who, ironically, is an extremely savvy businessman who has an excellent understanding of how the financial world works.
So I ask you, did your family teach you about money? What are some basic traditional lessons that you learned that you think will not apply to our children’s generation? Any ideas about how to introduce these lessons, and how to make them effective?
And most importantly-anybody know how I can get to Hawaii, cheap, and which tropical resort is the best?
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