Seven years ago I started a financial journey with my kids in the hopes of not only teaching them good financial habits, but also teaching them important lessons in entrepreneurialism as well as in life. I got their buy-in and I helped them each set up a business so they could start earning income. With that income they were to divide it into 4 important categories: Giving, Investing, Saving and Spending.
Well, things started off beautifully. My kids were excited to start earning money and then divide it into the different categories. My kids generously gave to the church and various local charities. I helped my kids invest a portion of their money into a Roth IRA to shelter their money from taxes as well as to start their retirement plans – it’s never too early. We had fun calculating how much it could grow into based on getting different interest rates. My kids set goals to save up for and met those goals – my son saved up for a laptop computer and my daughter saved up for an iPad Mini. My kids had fun budgeting and making purchases with their hard earned money. My son bought his own video games and Lego sets, while my daughter bought her own stuffed animals and dolls.
Fast forward to today and my kids are still doing all of the same things I mentioned above. So, “What’s the problem?” You may ask. Well, the problem is that I envisioned so much more – and who doesn’t envision much more for their kids? I envisioned my kids becoming more entrepreneurial and wanting to and finding ways to make as much money as possible so that there would be higher amounts of money in each of the different categories. I envisioned my kids really wanting to get involved with a specific cause or charity that they really had passion for. I envisioned my kids becoming more goal-oriented and wanting to set and accomplish larger and larger goals. I envisioned my kids becoming more budget-conscious and less frivolous with their spending.
I’m always learning and one thing I’ve learned is that not everything goes exactly as I envisioned in my head. That’s why, especially when dealing with people, it is very important, if you have a vision, to share that vision and keep on sharing it to make sure that everyone involved knows what it is and what the expectation level is. It is always good to remember that people are not mind readers.
So, as I go along on this journey of important lessons with my kids, I have to chalk up this lesson as one they taught me.