Friday, November 3, 2017

Should You Teach Your Kids Frugality?

This great post was inspired by a Twitter convo I had with the excellent blogger, Millennial Money Man (@GenYMoneyMan).  He Tweeted:

"Do you teach your kids about frugality?"  It's the title of a guest post by Rebecca from  MMM was promoting the post obviously and not necessarily asking people to respond to the question but I tweeted him back anyway.  We went back and forth a couple of times until finally moving on with our respective lives.

I read the post by Rebecca and she makes some valid points:  

1.  Have a budget and stick to it no matter how big the temptation to deviate.  She was honest enough to admit that she makes sound financial choices "most days."

2.  There is room for frugality in everyone's life no matter their income.

3.  If being frugal makes you happy, gives you a sense of pride, or contentment, then keep doing it.

4.  Your kids are watching.  Rebecca is hopeful that her kids are learning that "self-sufficiency and discipline have higher rewards than always giving into temptations."  Meaning also not to look to "stuff" to give you satisfaction.

The last point also reminded me of a very important lesson to be teaching your kids, namely, self-control.  Last night I sat with my two kids and watched Sesame Street before bed.  Short videos of Cookie Monster kept loading over and over.  One was a music video that I absolutely loved AND recommend all of you watch with your kids.  Called, Me Want It (But Me Wait), the song teaches the importance of patience and self-regulation.  Most adults still need to learn these skills!

Back to the topic at hand...should you be teaching your kids frugality?  I'm not in favor of teaching my kids frugality.  This is not to say that I spoil them.  Far be it.  They both have piggy banks and save coins all the time.  My wife and I also constantly tell them not to waste food because it costs money and it's bad when there are starving kids on this planet.  We do feed them well, however, (splurge on groceries) getting fresh and organic foods.

We live within our means mostly, doing as many things as we can for ourselves, e.g., paint and remodel our master bathroom, and finding inexpensive car repair solutions.  But we also spend a lot of money every year on our businesses.  I'll buy my book at a discount to give to kids at conferences in order to get more word of mouth activity.  I'll buy books online regularly to constantly stimulate my mind and inspire creativity.  I subscribe to literature like Barron's magazine to improve my ability to invest and trade stocks.  My wife buys samples of her network marketing products to give out in order to prospect people.  I'll pay for online courses to learn new skills.  I won't hesitate to pay for Facebook ads if it'll grow my brand.  And so on and so on...

I Teach the "Abundance" Mindset to My Kids

Kids have little but developing brains, and they don't think like adults.  That's a fact.  Kids are more creative than adults and to them naturally anything is possible.  Why stifle this spirit in them with limitations?  Frugality to me is about setting limitations and boundaries with your money.  It's about scarcity and poverty, and negates the abundance and prosperity there is to be had in this world at all times.

In Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, Mr. Hill talks quite clearly about the power of your mind to shape your actions.  He mentions how thoughts enter our subconscious level and undermine us in life and business if we're not careful with them.  Therefore, it's more important for me to teach my kids how I use technology to make money.  I show them my YouTube channel and this blog.  They can identify which books on the shelf I've written.  We (my wife and I) show them pure hustle.  We would rather they learn how to make money first, then how to save, and ultimately invest it on assets or your business.  Here's a great article on prosperity and abundance.

Frugality is a philosophy I've never completely agreed with.  If I can't afford something I don't just pat myself on the back for not having bought it.  I ask: How can I afford it?  This forces me to think of solutions on how I can attract more money, success, and wealth into my life.

Here's how you can tell where you stand on this issue.  Scenario time!

If your kid were to one day ask you for an expensive toy, do you,

A.  Tell them to save up for it from their allowance, birthday money, etc. until they have enough money to purchase the toy?


B.  Tell them to think of ways to make money (working around the house, starting a lemonade stand, etc.) to afford what they want?

If you answered "A" then you're probably a frugal person.  If you answered "B" then you believe in abundance (work creatively and offer a great service so plentiful money comes to you).  If you answered both A and B, then you have a little bit of both philosophies in ya.

Choosing to teach one thing over another to a child is a parent's prerogative.  Even though I wouldn't focus on teaching a child frugality, it's fine by me if others do.  Hey, it's better than letting your kids grow up with zero money lessons so they can become financially illiterate adults.  Thanks for reading.   

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