The hardest thing about upward mobility-the so called American dream- is attaining it. Perhaps the second hardest thing is this: Once you’ve risen from a hardscrabble upbringing and gained financial success, how do you pass the traits that helped get you there-hard work, accountability, passion and discipline-on to your children?
The natural inclination is to give them all the things you never had-and to shield them from the worries you experienced growing up. But that won’t help them long term.
You can’t duplicate your humble beginnings for them, says wealth management advisor Rebecca Walser of Walser Wealth, www.walserwealth.com. But you can teach your kids the skills they’ll need when they’re making their own way in the world.
Walser, a successful tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in working with high net worth clients, says one of her earliest memories I of being four years old and flipping a light switch in her home, only to have nothing happen.
“That’s when I learned about money and bills, and that if you don’t pay the electric bill, the lights won’t come on”, she says. Her children, ages 9, 7 and 4 haven’t experienced anything quite like that, but she still wants them to understand money. One way she accomplishes that is they get weekly allowances to cover their expenses, and they must budget everything for themselves.
“When we set a limit, we set a limit,” Walser says. Mom and dad aren’t going to bail them out if they are a quarter short on a toy they want.
HERE ARE SOME OTHER TIPS Walser HAS FOR HELPING FORTUNATE KIDS UNDERSTAND FINANCES:
Parents want to give their children every advantage, Walser says, and that’s just what you’re doing if you prepare them to better deal with real world financial decisions.