Grandparents have accumulated a wealth of wisdom and financial know-how over your lifetime. The greatest gift you could give your grandkids is to help shape and inform their financial intelligence. Talking to your grandkids about money will help them to acquire a healthy understanding and relationship to money.
Today there appears to be a void where kids don’t understand the value of an earned dollar or the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want.’ Kids today are growing up in a time of conspicuous consumption or consumerism. ‘Want’ seems to triumph over ‘need.’ Money values of the past are fleeting, and are being replaced. But grandparents are in a unique position to bridge the past with today’s reality.
Many of you arrived in this country as a young adult with a suitcase in one hand, and a hard work ethic in the other. You grew up during the war, a time when food was rationed. Money was scarce and quite often you did without. Credit wasn’t common and you didn’t buy something unless you had saved up enough money or could pay cash. Hard work was the ticket to your future financial success. Life was simple. Your family was happy. On Saturday night the family gathered around the television. You had only two channels on your television and watched either the Ed Sullivan Show or Bonanza.
Many baby boomer grandparents grew up differently and during an era of prosperity. Jobs were plentiful and homeownership was common. Your family may have struggled when you were younger but through hard work and dedication to your career you’ve done well. The high cost of living, debt, demands of work and family have influenced you. The low cost of travel has given you’re the opportunity to see the world.
Sharing life lessons and anecdotes of your past are a reminder to your grandkids of your remarkable journey in life. Imparting your values on your grandkids will enrich their thinking and broaden their perspective in life. Besides, who can’t resist a story from Grandpa! Consider these 4 simple tips when sharing your stories:
You don’t need to be an expert
Try to share bits and pieces of your life experiences. Try to find a financial implication or money lesson. For example, what was it like buying your first home or how did you save enough money to purchase your first home? Show them pictures if possible.
Consider starting a story one day and finishing it another. The anticipation will keep your grandkids engaged and wanting more. Keep it simple.
Find the right moment
Story telling works best when there are no distractions such as electronic devices. Great places to share your stories include: the park, walking the dog or during a long car ride.
Teach your grandkids to be inquisitive and to ask questions. The more interested they are around your stories the greater is the likelihood they will seek out more knowledge on their own.
Set your grandkids up for future success. Give them a gift to last a lifetime by shaping & influencing their money values.
This post was originally created for my good friend Susan Day, a wonderful and talented children’s author who lives in Australia.