By BERN MORLEY
The older my children get, the harder I find it is to buy them something they really want for Christmas or on their birthdays. “Want” being the key word here. Buying them the things they need? No problem, although unwrapping next year’s extensive list of textbooks and a pair of new school shoes wouldn’t exactly make me popular on Christmas Day. Money. Money is starting to speak my 13 year old daughter’s language.
Her grandparents share the same dilemma. They ask me, “What shall we get Maddie for Christmas?” Wait, they don’t speak like that, they just send me a text that makes absolutely no sense because they are new to this whole texting “thing”, but deciphered seems to ask, “What does Maddie want for Christmas?” Umm, she wants to sleep in until 12pm each day and cohabit with 56 cups and saucers in her cesspit of a bedroom, but I don’t think you can actually buy that for her Gran.
This year though, they sent her a cheque as we are currently living in different states. This threw me because she didn’t even have a bank account to cash it in. So to her, there was this money she *thought* she could spend immediately, yet had to wait for it to clear. It was to coin a phrase, burning a hole in her pocket. So we opened her up a savings account.
This is probably the thing about kids though; money appears to grow on trees. Or come out of a magical ATM machine that seemingly sprout on every street corner. These kids, until they start to work for it, have no concept of being rewarded for their actions. As a general rule, adolescents, or children are quite irresponsible with money. And I guess why shouldn’t they be?
They don’t have those monetary burdens placed upon them at 8 years of age and nor should they. But they should definitely understand its value. So that when they receive money for their birthdays and/or Christmas, it should be saved and not necessarily spent straight away. And, although we, as their parents, are seen as monsters for even suggesting so, it is a lesson they will one day thank us for.
And this is where I’ve found it is so very important to educate all three of my children on not only the value of money, but earning it and then COMBINING it with the money they receive to compound and grow their savings.
My mother was very wise, and I thought at the time, harsh. See, she used to make us save one dollar for every dollar that we earned. And this went as far back as the days when I was involved in selling lollies door-to-door making often less than$4 a day. Yet it was a fantastic habit to get into.