My father instilled my passion for financial literacy when he began his money lessons with me when I was thirteen years old. Now it’s my turn to pass his legacy and gift forward to my own children, to other parents who want to raise Money Smart kids and to you. Children may be eagerly awaiting Christmas morning, but as adults, the presents they will remember are often intangible. And one the greatest gifts we can give our children and ourselves is the gift of financial literacy.
Parents do so much to help their kids succeed, but the one area they often neglect is teaching kids about money. And I don’t mean how to write a check. But how to think about money so that we don’t fear it, take it for granted or let our emotions overrule our good sense. To know how to use it in a manner that supports our goals and on what matters most to us, rather than trying to impress others or keep up with the Joneses. All of us handle money and being financially literate is key to living our best lives—free of debt and on our terms.
I dream of a day where financial literacy isn’t a strange term that too many of us have never heard of before, but something we all embrace—in our homes and schools. I firmly believe that if you give a child money, she has money for a day. Teach a child how to earn and use her money and she makes smart money decisions for a lifetime. This is my goal.
I have 18 years, maybe less, to influence how my daughters think and behave. So while the girls will have plenty of gifts to ooh and ahh over Christmas morning, you can bet that the gift of financial literacy is something they will receive ongoing. Next to our love and support, it will be the most important gift my husband and I give our girls. I hope the gift of financial literacy is an ongoing present you plan to give yourself and your family.
As I shared before, The Polar Express is one of our family’s favorite holiday movies. It seems fitting to end with a quote from the movie.
“At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”
My wish for worldwide financial literacy may seem so far away and almost impossible. It will not happen overnight, but I believe it is possible and I hope you believe with me.
I always tell my girls we are “rich” when our home is full of love, and I hope your home is also very “rich” this holiday season. I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a fulfilling and prosperous 2014.
P.S. No doubt your children will receive some cash and gift cards this year. Now is a great time to teach them how to save, spend and share their holiday loot!
Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net.
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