“Money doesn’t grow on trees”
“Money is dirty”
“We can’t afford that!”
“Rich people are greedy”
Do you still believe the things you were told about money when you were a child? And how do you think your beliefs around money have effected your bank balance?
Recent research has shown that attitudes towards money do in fact have a a correlation to your income. A paper by Brad Klonz revealed significant differences between the beliefs of the wealthier and those who struggle financially.
Furthermore neuroscience is confirming what the woo-woo crowd have been saying* for years, that our thoughts do in fact effect our environment.
So if we had greater thoughts about money, could we in fact have greater amounts of money in our life?
Given that the first seven years of a child’s life are the most important for their development it follows that we should be doing all we can in the early years to create the kinds of money beliefs that will put them in the category of the wealthy rather than the financially struggling.
Here are eight tips to help you do that:
1. Cultivate an attitude of responsibility and generosity
Talk about money. Have open (and age appropriate) conversations in front of your children about money and how you are choosing to spend it. Celebrate the wins, the raise at work, the bonus, the extra clients. Express how good it feels when it comes to you. Enjoying money does not make you greedy! The more money you have, the more you can experience life and all it’s offerings! And the more money you have the more you can help others.
Talk about how good it feels when you give it away, how the money you have given has helped someone less fortunate than your family. This doesn’t have to be hundreds of dollars, even a $5 donation feels good. Allow your children to put money in the supermarket charity collection boxes and talk about where it’s going, and the power of everyone giving a small amount of money. With bigger amounts of money comes greater responsibility. Starting with this attitude from the beginning will allow them to be more responsible and money-wise when they are older.
2. Watch your language
Become aware of how you talk about money around your children. Find ways of talking about money that embrace an abundance mindset over a poverty mindset. When a child asks for something expensive it can trigger our own poverty mindset and it can feel natural to answer from that perspective with something like:
“We can’t afford that”
“It’s too expensive”
Think about some other ways you could answer this. Try to use answers that feel like they are coming more from the mindset of wealth. You could say:
“We are choosing to spend our money on other things today”
or “We haven’t planned for that this week”
or “Oh that looks good, let’s add it to our wish list”
For an older child you can give them some responsibility by asking:
“How can we make this happen?”
This encourages your child to think creatively about ways they can find the money to do what they want to do, and it could become a natural teachable moment for talking about innovation and thinking ‘outside the box’. By turning the question back to them we are empowering them to actively create the means to their desires. Rather than seeing the power as outside of themselves – in your hands, they are tapping into their internal resources. In doing this their self-confidence will grow.
3. Encourage healthy attitudes towards spending and saving
There is no doubt about it, spending feels good! However if we spent all our money we wouldn’t able to take care of our future or those around us.
You could encourage a “spend, save and serve” three way split of money that your child comes into (birthday money, pocket money, money earned). Some to spend, some to save and some to give away. This is a beautiful way of showing your children the power of money to do good, and the power of savings as they grow, while also having an appreciation of what money can do for us right here and now in the joy it brings in spending it.
4. Teach your children the life skill of delayed gratification
Saving will teach your children delayed gratification and this is increasingly important in this digital age of instant gratification. Walter Mishcel conducted an amazing study in the 60s that showed a significant correlation between children who were able to delay gratification with their success in later life. A group of four-year olds were given a marshmallow and promised another one if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one. The researchers then followed the children into adolescence and found those who were able to delay gratification were more academically successful, socially confident and better able to deal with stress.
So teaching your children to save their money will effect much more than their bank balance.
5. Think about your own beliefs
Doing some work around your own beliefs, especially the limiting ones, is an excellent way to dive deep and change things from the inside out. There are countless rags to riches stories that attribute the change in wealth to the consistent use of mindset tools.
Once you uncover and shift your own beliefs around money it this will be reflected in your financial circumstances. You could read some books, find a mindset coach, or do an online Money Bootcamp intensive**. It is one thing to become aware of your limiting money beliefs, it is another to clear and replace them with more helpful and healthier ones.
With work and commitment it is never too late to change your beliefs. And once you change your own beliefs, it is easier to help your children with theirs.
6. Foster an attitude of gratitude and make it fun
Create an energy of joy around receiving money. When money is received be thankful. Lead by example and also actively teach your child to receive with grace and gratitude.
You could show them how to whisper “Thank you” and “more please” when they find money on the street.
Stick your latest raise notification, or monthly revenue spreadsheet on the fridge along side their drawings. Do a happy dance with them when your phone notifies you of a payment received or you have paid something off yourself. Play a money playlist to allow those positive money messages to filter in.
In keeping things fun, and light, while also cultivating an attitude of gratitude your child will feel good about money.
7. Teach your child about money management
If you started a savings account when your baby was born and put just $10 a week in, based on 3% inflation and 5% interest by their 25th birthday the account would have in it $23 613. That’s a pretty nice nest egg to give your child on their birthday, all just for the price of a couple of coffees a week. If you put in $20 a week it would be $47 741! Use this calculator to figure out what you can manage, it’s never too early (or late) to start saving.
As your child grows start to teach them the power of compound interest, of investing and different ways to invest. Give them the knowledge and tools so they can set themselves up financially. If you don’t know how to do this, there are plenty of books out there to help you start.
8. Set money goals
Setting, working towards and achieving a goal feels amazing, and teaching your child how to do this will not only help their self confidence but it will set them up with the skills for a successful life.
The tools you use to reach your goals will be more powerful if they are in alignment with your family values. So have a think about what your values and beliefs as a family are, and how you could empower your goals with these. If you are spiritual you may involve prayer and charity. If you are creative you may use vision boards and writing your money goals on the mirrors in your bathroom. If you are academic you may listen to motivational podcasts or do a money bootcamp together**.
No matter what your values and beliefs as a family are, the common thread through out all of these is consciously moving towards your dreams and desires.
After all isn’t that what we all want? For our children to become conscious creators of their life, to have dreams and to have their dreams realised?
*long but fascinating read about quantum physics and neuroscience
**affiliate link for the awesome course by Denise Duffield Thomas