A few years ago, I was walking in the park with my granddaughter, when she spotted an ice-cream shop, just a short distance away. Her eyes sparkled and her mouth worked itself into a cheeky smile as she prepared to convince me why we should pay the shop a visit.
There was only one problem. Earlier that day, I had purchased a tub of ice-cream. Her house was just a 15-minute walk away and I didn’t feel like spending money on something that I already had at home.
After I explained the situation to her, she pressed on, asking me why we couldn’t just do both. Why not buy an ice-cream now and eat more at home. I appreciated her enthusiasm, but, I explained that I only made a limited amount of money and I needed to be careful what I spend it on.
Her response was priceless. She looked me right in the eyes and asked, “Why don’t we just make more money? I have plenty of paper.”
After I stopped giggling, I explained to her what I meant by “making money.” She then asked me if she could work for me in order to get some money to buy ice-cream. It was a wonderful discussion. In fact, if I remember correctly, I ended up being so impressed that I bought her an ice-cream anyway. The house cleaning that she promised in exchange never materialized, but, I felt that it was worth it just to have the discussion.
As I thought back over this discussion, it occurred to me that I never really spoke with my grandparents, or my parents, for that matter, about money. As a young woman, I was forced to learn about credit cards, mortgages, salary negotiations and paychecks the hard way.
It made me wonder how much easier my life would have been if someone in my family had taken the time to help me to become financially literate. It also strengthened my resolve to make sure that my granddaughter learned about money at an earlier age than I did.
I would love to get your perspective on this. Do you see it as part of your role to teach your grandchildren about money? Or do you leave this up to their parents?
In fact, let’s start a list of all of the money advice that we want to give to our grandkids. I’ll take the community’s favorites and add them to this article.
What money advice would you give to your grandchildren or, if you don’t have grandkids, to a neighbor’s child? What advice do you wish someone had given you about managing your finances when you were a child? Please join the conversation.