Clearly every student wants to be successful and thinks they will be successful, but none have been taught by their parents or their school system how to be financially successful in life. Not only are there no courses on basic financial success principles, but there are no structured courses on basic financial literacy. We are raising our children to be financially illiterate and we are raising our children to be poor and to fail in life.
Is it any wonder that most Americans live paycheck to paycheck? That most Americans accumulate more debt than assets? That many Americans are losing their homes? Is it any wonder that most Americans cannot afford college for their children and that student loan debt is now the largest type of consumer debt? According to the Institute for College Access & Success' Project on Student Debt, the average student loan debt is $25,250. This debt forces college graduates to postpone buying a home and starting a family.
For most, parents are the only success mentors we have in life. What can parents do to mentor their children to be financially successful in life? From the research on the daily habits of the wealthy and the poor it is clear: children of parents who teach them ‘rich habits’ become financially successful adults. Children of parents who teach them ‘poverty habits’ struggle financially as adults.
Take 20-50% of any gifts, allowance, or income your children receive and put it into a savings account. You actually need to physically take this 20%-50% away from your children and show them that this money is going into a savings account. Periodically show your children how much money they have accumulated in their savings account. Children age 9 and up will grasp the concept of saving.
Make your children use their savings to budget for the purchase of big ticket items such as cell phones, iPads, clothes etc. This teaches children how to save and set goals at the same time. It also teaches them the value of delayed gratification, which is a ‘rich habit’.
Make your children read two or more educational-related books a month. Educational material includes biographies of successful people, self-help books, current events, history, etc. 85% of all wealthy individuals have this rich habit, whereas 85% of poor individuals do not have this rich habit. Teaching your children this life-long, self-improvement, rich habit pays dividends for the rest of their lives and virtually guarantees that your children will be more successful as adults than their peers.
The wealthy treat their relationships like gold. They want to learn everything they can about their relationships. They use the information they gather from each relationship to further grow the relationship. 80% of all wealthy individuals make happy birthday calls, hello calls, and life event calls to grow their relationships. Teach your children to make a habit of reaching out to their relationships on their birthday, or when something happens in their life. These calls grow the roots to each relationship tree deeper over the years.
Wealthy people are healthy people. 76% of all wealthy individuals exercise aerobically 30 minutes a day, four days a week. Only 23% of all poor people have this rich habit. 70% of wealthy people do not eat more than 300 junk food calories a day. Parents who teach their children healthy living rich habits help their children live long and healthy lives.
Parents who do not teach their children to save are, by default, teaching them not to save - to spend all of their money and to live beyond their means. When their children grow up they not only have little savings, but go into debt in order to fund a lifestyle they cannot afford.
Parents who do not make their children use their own money for big ticket items such as cell phones, iPads, clothes etc. inadvertently teach their kids that it is ok to spend 100% of your money to get what you want immediately. Because they never learn the value of money, these children grow up thinking money has only one function and that is to be spent immediately. This Poverty Habit results in many being forced to go into debt in order to live, and will cause them to delay retirement or to be forced to live in poverty during their retirement years.
Most who are poor stopped learning after they left school. Parents who never instilled in their children the rich habits of continuous life-long self-improvement create adults who have no desire to read or learn during their adult lives. These individuals are among the first to get fired by their employers if the economy weakens or something goes wrong at their company. These individuals are forced to become employees for their entire lives. They become rats in the rat race.
77% of all poor people spend most of their non-working time watching TV or are engaged in recreational social media activities. Of the poor who do read, 79% read for recreational reasons only. Unlike rich habit parents, poverty habit parents do not limit the time their children waste watching TV, or their time engaged in recreational social media. This teaches their children to mismanage their time, and this becomes an anchor around their neck when they become adults and their employer requires that they be productive.
Poor people do not value their relationships. They never learned from their parents the importance of managing each relationship like it was gold. To the poor, relationships are disposable and only have value when the relationship provides some sort of benefit or comes to the rescue.
Ensuring that your children are taught rich habits is the best thing that you can do to make sure your children grow up to be financially responsible and financially successful. Get your children off the TV, make sure they never stop learning, and teach them the value of savings and delayed gratification early on in life. Doing these things will not only help their financial life, but it will also help them live a long and healthy life.
More expert advice about Budgeting
Photo Credits: Poor Hamm... by Flickr: kennymatic; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com