How (and why) to instill an empowering ‘money story’ in your children
Our ability to generate wealth and financial security is closely tied to our thoughts around money. We all have a ‘money mindset’ whether we’re aware of it or not.
When we examine our existing beliefs around money and create a mindset that suits us in the present, we have more control (and inevitably, we do better financially). But when we don’t examine our beliefs, very often we’re at the mercy of a ‘money story’ that is based on what we saw and heard as a child. And even then we may have misinterpreted or exaggerated our parents’ actions and created a whole new false belief.
The point is – is our money mindset serving us in the present? And can we help our children create a positive money story they can take into their future?
I grew up in a family where money was rarely discussed. I was given pocket money and if I ever dared ask my dad for extra he’d sometimes reluctantly pull out a fiver (which even then didn’t go far).
My money story was that :
– Money should not be talked about
– It was hard to get and
– If you were lucky you got a small amount
Needless to say I spent a large part of my life not believing that I was good enough to be paid well and that money was elusive. (As a result, guess what? I was not paid well, and money was elusive!)
It was only when I was in enough pain from financial struggle that I was willing to do the mental work required to shift this mindset, and therefore my reality. I made a decision to work on creating a positive money story, believe in myself and finally live the life I wanted.
Now as a mum of a teenager and young adult, I am very aware of the messages I might be sending to my children about money.
But hell it can be so challenging!
There are so many contradictions to grapple with. We want to instill in our children an abundance mindset yet still teach them to spend money wisely. We also want to find the balance between modelling behavior about working to achieve wealth, but not instill the belief that money only comes from really hard work. I quite often hear myself lecturing my kids about not studying hard enough but it’s my own limiting beliefs that tell me you need amazing results to have a well-paid job. (Which we all know is not necessarily the case, and if you are happy, enthusiastic and excited about what you do then anything is possible.)
So what can we do instead?
1. Teach your children to achieve by setting goals and putting a plan of action in place
I remember being overwhelmed by an influx of bills when my son announced he’d like to have a family holiday to Europe (hello!!!!). A response along the lines of ‘That sounds great – it’s not possible right now, but let’s make a plan to make it happen in the future’, would have been far more empowering than me saying ‘we can’t afford it’.
2. Teach your kids about self-worth
When my daughter (who has expensive taste!) asks me to purchase a very expensive item of clothing I work with her to plan how she can purchase it herself. Regardless of whether I think the is a waste of money for a teenager I am conscious of not instilling in her the belief that she is not worthy of spending that kind of money on herself.
Maybe all we have to do is gently guide our children, work on building their self worth and instill in them the belief that the financial wealth they desire is certainly possible.