It’s been 7 years since my little girl arrived into this world. Since that day, I have wanted to provide her with the very best life I could afford, while also making sure she had a secure future. I suppose that is what all parents wish for their children – a life better than the one they lived. I found myself a single parent for the better part of her first few years. Because of this, I worked extra hard to make sure she had what I thought she deserved. I didn’t want her to be the child who had to go without just because she didn’t have two parents at home. Hence, the first 7 years of her life went a little something like this.
Setting The Stage
When my little girl was born, I was living in an apartment and also subsidizing my parents’ living expenses to the tune of about $800/mo. This was obviously not the smartest asset allocation I could’ve picked but, nonetheless, that’s what was happening with my money. Read more about that here.
I debated moving into the house that I owned and living with my mother (my father had passed away before her birth) but, for various reasons, this was not something I wanted to do. Instead, I lived a very sparse lifestyle, swearing off new clothes and vacations so I could funnel any extra cash into her college fund or home improvements.
A few days before her first birthday, I purchased a second home for us. We moved in and started making our life. I was even more stretched for extra cash after this purchase, since I was still subsidizing my mother’s living expenses. Read all about how I had $200 left in my account after closing here! But who cared, I had a backup. I had a second house. I could always move us in with my mother if I needed to. My thought process went something like this…my little girl would never know about these early struggles because by the time she was old enough to remember, things would be different. It actually did work out this way. But, just by chance. Phew.
Related: Kids & Cash: Grasshopper Teachings
Early Money Lessons
As early as Mini could start to comprehend what I was saying, I started teaching her about finances and how to handle money. I taught her that everyday when I left to go to “work” I was leaving to make money. I taught her that we needed money for everything. We needed money for the food we eat, the gas we put in our car, and the water she uses in the tub.
She knows that she has to earn her money. She knows she only gets things given to her if it’s her birthday or a holiday. She knows that she MUST invest half of all of her money. The other night I asked her what she would do if someone gave her 1,000,000 dollars. Her response, “Buy companies.” Awe! Proud mommy right here. Then I asked her what she would do for fun. Her response, “Go to Chuck E. Cheese with my cousin.” And that my friends, is proof that money doesn’t buy happiness.
On top of finances, I taught her that she doesn’t need to pay someone to install ceiling fans or stain fences. I taught her the more she can do on her own, the more money she’ll have for toys and the fun stuff!
Liabilities vs. Assets
Now that I’m in a healthy marriage and living life as a dual-income family (awesome, btw!) we still live those same values. In fact, we still live on my single income while investing the second one. Score! Thankfully, we were able to become comfortable living a satisfying life without having all the luxuries available to modern man and woman.
Now, Mini is able to identify the difference between liabilities and assets. She knows that liabilities will eat you in a time of crisis and assets will feed you. Thank you, Robert Kiyosaki! She also knows that in order to be “rich” she needs to do the opposite of almost everyone around her. And, because we never up-sized our “starter” home together, she knows that bigger isn’t always better. :)
Related: Frugal Hacks To Live An Awesome Life
What about you? What are you teaching your children about money? Or, what will you teach your children about money? I’d love to hear the lessons that other people in the community are passing on to their sons and daughters.
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