“You can’t fake your way through instilling good financial habits in your children.”
On December 8, 2012, while some folks were busy fretting about an upcoming Mayan apocalypse, we went to see The Who perform in Philadelphia. Had the world truly come to an end on December 21, that might have been alright with me because I got to see one of the greatest bands of all time perform live with my husband and my two teenage sons.
So what’s this got to do with financial management? I confess, in part, I just wanted to express how much fun it is to share a passion for rock & roll with my kids. Besides The Who, we’ve seen the Foo Fighters and Elton John & Billy Joel as well as the play “Memphis” which was scored by David Bryan of Bon Jovi.I also want to make an important point about family finance: You can’t fake your way through instilling good financial habits in your children.
I LOVE going to rock concerts with my kids, and it shows. I know most of the bands they know, and vice-versa. We bond over shared favorite lyrics and groups, scorning many of the same pretenders who don’t measure up in our discerning estimation. I’ve introduced them to some of my oldest and dearest favorites. With some of the newer groups, they’ve been the ones to lead the way. It’s a give-and-take thing in which we may not always agree, but we all get our say on whether The Black Keys “El Camino” should have won Album of the Year over “Babel” by Mumford & Sons.
If I were going through the motions of pretending to be a “with it” mom, I think we all know how quickly and thoroughly my cover would be blown. Rightfully so. If you ask me, you can’t fake having a heart for rock & roll.
I believe the same thing applies to discussions involving family finance. Communications with your kids about money should be grounded in similar ideas:
- Keep it real – Keep your talk and your walk in firm alignment. Kids are far more likely to learn from what you do — prudent saving, spending and borrowing, well-reasoned investing and thoughtful charitable activities — than what you may say about the same.
- Place your own oxygen mask first — That means the best thing you can do for yourself and your children is to get and keep your own financial house in order, to serve as a tangible example they can turn to with confidence.
- It’s a team effort – Enter the conversation in a “Father (or Mother) Knows Best” frame of mind, and you might as well stick plugs in their ears while you’re at it, for all they’re going to hear. Go in with an authentic expectation that you will also have a thing or two to learn from them. First, you probably will have a thing or two to learn from them. Second, by definition, a conversation is a bi-directional exchange, which means both parties must fully participate for it to work as planned.
Enough financial talk. I’ve got to go plan the rest of our 2013 concert schedule in between college campus tours.