I’m not going to beat around the bush here, I grew up thinking my parents were an ATM. I had zero concept of money and didn’t know, what I didn’t know. But when your parents divorce and the silver spoon is yanked from your mouth in an aggressive fashion, you don’t have any other choice but to wake up to your new life. A less financially fortunate one. Now for those just catching up to my FFT story, here’s a quick summary – I grew up in a middle-class family with nice things, nice cars and a private school education…until I was 15 and my dad decided to live with a younger version of my mum leaving her with 2 mortgages and no job. No resentment at all, promise!
RELATED: Fearless Female Traders Founder shares her experience with debt and how she overcame it, “To most people, I had it all. Great job, healthy disposable income, new outfit most weeks and a yearly overseas trip that made Instagram posting a sport. Sydney’s social life had me by her talons and I was loving every minute of it. Heck, I was single and in my early 20’s, who wouldn’t be? The only problem was, I was drowning in debt. And I don’t mean paddling around in it, I mean head under water, can’t breathe, scene out of The Godfather kind of drowning.”
Until then, I never wanted for anything and never truly had any idea of the value of a dollar. I can say this now because I’m totally reformed and all…you know. But when my mum, brother and I started our new life as a “broken family”, I remember mum sitting us down and going through the new house rules,
- You must ask permission to use the house telephone. Reaction: What the actual F is this woman on?
- You must turn off lights when you’re not in the room. Reaction: Mmmm ok, weirdo!
- You can only have tuck-shop once per month. Reaction: You’re ruining my life, mum.
The take home message here, if you haven’t already picked up on it, is that I was an entitled little so-and-so, who thought my mum was a malfunctioning ATM. The reality was far more stressful for her – single parent, supporting two kids and trying to redefine her purpose after 20 years raising children and running the home. To be clear, I’m not here to comment on the current political dramas or those of a certain news presenter whose wife gave up her career for his pursuit in media. I’m here to hint at a helpful reminder – do NOT let your children use you as an ATM in any moment, even a weak one.
Speaking as a non-parent and reformed silver-spooner, I strongly believe there are no wins in handing out the cash to your kids. And to me the reasons are pretty simple –
- Necessity breeds success – let me ask you this, if your mum or dad continued to pay your rent, provide you with a supplementary credit card or bail you out every time you were in trouble, would you really ever cut the cord and get a job? I know I wouldn’t! What’s the point when mum and dad can pay for it? I’m not suggesting you allow your child to live on the street when they’re in trouble, but creating financial boundaries which send a clear message around financial accountability is very important.
Those who are sheltered from financial responsibilities will only turn into withdrawal robots and most likely live at home until they find another equally lucrative ATM. And you know what? This isn’t necessarily their fault, it’s the parents who coddle and give their children everything. Financial discipline isn’t just learnt from paying bills, it’s learnt by example. Let that sink in.
Remember, necessity breeds success…
2. Money comes from savings, not trees – learning important money skills and saving strategies are not only reserved for those with a job. Starting the conversation about money at a young age, using pocket money and reward systems can be pivotal in a child’s understanding around the value of money. It’s called setting them up for success for a reason! Commonwealth Bank’s Dollarmites account is the most popular and well known, but there are many others.
If you have an initial deposit of $500 and commit to $50 per month, I found these to be the best accounts:
|Maximum interest rate||
Interest earned over 12 months
|Bankwest Kids’ Bonus Saver||4.75% p.a.||$37.51|
|Suncorp Bank Kids Savings Account||2.60% p.a.||$20.36|
|People’s Choice Young Saver Account||2.55% p.a.||$19.96|
|Commonwealth Bank Youth Saver Account||2.30% p.a.||$17.99|
3. Start investing early – many are of the opinion that introducing the world of ‘investing’ to a child under 13 is ludicrous. I disagree (obviously). I wish my parents worked less on the credit card and more on the investments so I could learn some good financial habits! Your child doesn’t have to be involved in the mechanics of buying shares or researching property but introducing the language and explaining the importance of planning your financial future is very important.
Want to know how to buy shares for your kids? Read the popular FFT article, “The silver spoon debate – finding the balance”.
Fearless Female Traders