Seth Godin has an interesting post about money today. I find it interesting because I wonder some times how well I taught my children about money. It’s a difficult subject. I’d implore you to read the full article, but here are a few excerpts that I find important for teaching children.
4. …getting out of debt as fast as you possibly can is the smartest thing you can do with your money.
6. If money is an emotional issue for you, you’ve just put your finger on a big part of the problem. No one who is good at building houses has an emotional problem with hammers. Place your emotional problems where they belong, and focus on seeing money as a tool.
11. The way you feel about giving money to good causes has a lot to do with the way you feel about money.
12. Don’t get caught confusing money with security. There are lots of ways to build a life that’s more secure, starting with the stories you tell yourself, the people you surround yourself with, and the cost of living you embrace.
15. Within very wide bands, more money doesn’t make people happier. Learning how to think about money, though, usually does.
16.In the long run, doing work that’s important leads to more happiness than doing work that’s merely profitable.
Many, many parents miss the last point and, in doing so, make their children feel less important when they do important work. Especially in the faith world, important work doesn’t usually pay well. Important careers can come in many forms. A doctor can be important or unimportant. The career of being an attorney can be the same thing. Many people poo-poo the very low paying career of being a parent who raises children (Can I say housemaker?), but if you look at Godin’s #5, There’s no difference (in terms of the money you have) between spending money and not earning money, having a full time parent may create more real money for a family than having two incomes.
Teaching children about money is important. I think Godin teaches good balance on the matter.