My family hasn’t done a terribly good job at generating cross-generational wealth. There was a time when I thought that my husband and I would be the ones to break our family into the world of the 1%. Then, a series of events, missteps and outright mistakes brought our financial dreams crashing down to Earth.
At the same time, one thing that I am proud of is that, generation by generation, our family has gotten more financially literate. My dad was a mechanic and my mom was a housewife, prior to her untimely death, when I was just a teenager. They didn’t really talk about money, but, they did give my brothers and me a good work ethic.
I went to university and climbed the corporate ladder, but, I never became financially literate. Perhaps this is why I lost so much money in the Great Recession. My son went a step further, starting his corporate career at Microsoft at age 16 and starting his own business in his early 30s. At the same time, he has made his own financial mistakes and wishes that he had learned more about money when he was growing up. So, he has devised a plan.
It’s so simple – and yet so potentially powerful – that I want to share it with you here. I hope that it gives you something to discuss with your adult children.
Last week, as I returned from a trip to the UK, I received an email from my son. In it, he said that he wanted to give his son, Max, the best possible financial education. Unfortunately, in his opinion, our own financial education, as a family, left much to be desired.
Since my son, his wife and I are going to be the ones that spend the most time with my grandson, he proposed that we take a proactive approach to improving our financial literacy.
To begin with, he suggested that we meet once a month to discuss a new personal finance, entrepreneurship, investing or leadership book. During these discussions, he recommended that we agree what core lessons we wanted to teach to my grandson.
For example, of the next 15 months, he wants us to read and discuss the following:
The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley
MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins
The Value of Debt in Retirement by Thomas Anderson
The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
Just One Thing by John Mauldin
The Little Book of Behavioral Investing by James Montier
A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel
Investing in Real Estate by Katherine Gibson
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley
Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer
The Bond Book by Annette Thau
The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
Hardly! This blog was an attempt to help others to learn from my successes and failures. If there is one thing that I have learned over the years, it’s that pride costs you time, money and happiness.
My son knows that I am a good business woman. We founded Sixty and Me together and he knows how hard I work to ensure our family’s financial future. At the same time, knowing how to make money is not the same as knowing how to manage it. I applaud his desire to give his grandson the financial education that I didn’t give him.
This is how life should work. We all hope that our children are more successful than us… and that their children will be more successful than them.
I’m sure that this cross-generational book club is just the first of many ideas that my son will have as my grandson gets a little older. I’m just glad that he sees me as an important person in his son’s life and that he wants to work together as a family to improve our prospects.
If nothing else, it will be a wonderful opportunity to get together as a family and have a spirited conversation. I’m sure that we won’t agree on everything, but, the process will make us stronger. Who knows, in a few years, maybe my grandson will also be invited to the discussions. I would love that!
I know that this is a simple idea, but, I wanted to share it with you because so few of us get the financial education that we deserve. I hope that this gives you something to discuss with your adult children!
Do you feel like you got a good financial education while you were growing up? What are you doing to help your grandkids to understand how money works? Please join the conversation.