As a result of ridiculously low birth rates in Hong Kong, most couples eventually emerged as a one-child family. Being the one and only, it comes as no surprise that some of these kids may be pampered to an extent that they are unknowingly being imparted financial practices that should not follow them into adulthood.
Parents should be aware that upbringing plays an irreplaceable role in the way the children will behave financially in the future. It has nothing to do with helping them accumulate savings to safeguard their future, but rather to impart proper values that lead them into making the right choices with their money.
The fact is, you might not be able to financially protect them forever.
It is common for parents to feel guilty when they are unable to provide for something that their children want. Parental love usually precedes, and sometimes it involves going the extra mile to make things happen.
When your little ones get everything, they missed the opportunity to be aware that money is a limited resource. This may result in growing up into individuals that may risk their financial well-being just so they can satisfy every impulse.
They should be taught to identify needs and wants, and acknowledge that sometimes this will involve them having to make difficult decisions. And that brings the education to the next level – Choices.
Buying toys for your kids can be a great educational moment. They are naturally inclined to be attracted to every new fad, and you can always be sure that they have something new that they would also love to have.
Make it clear to them that getting a new toy today will forfeit any new purchases for a period of time. This will enable them to consider the consequence that it is likely they will miss out on something they might be happier with later.
Over time, this behavior will evolve into a financial habit of weighing between needs and wants.
A common misstep when parents save for their children’s future is that they do not involve them in the process.
When you start dispensing allowance to your child, take them to the bank to open a savings account. Encourage them to kick-start the habit of saving by offering incentives such as matching dollar to dollar if they can sustain the savings for a defined period of time. Don’t deny their right to withdraw from this account to reward themselves, as this will discourage the habit altogether.
The purpose of this process is to let your child understand that good financial discipline will help them achieve bigger things in the long term. Combined with the knowledge of understanding how to make good spending decisions, they will grow up into financially responsible adults.
Reality of Loans
As your child matures into a young teenager, chances are that his/her purchases will get increasingly larger in value. If the time comes that your kids ask for a loan, do so only with the agreement of a repayment program that will include interest.
Communicate that you are not looking to profit off them, but rather to help them understand that borrowing money in the real world is an expensive experience. You can allocate the interest they pay into investments/savings channels that you have created for handover upon maturity
This educational phase will be a good deterrence against modern conveniences such as credit cards, as they can be dangerous to wield in the wrong hands.
The chances of cultivating healthy financial habits are amplified if the teaching begins early. Parents are less likely to face resistance from their children if they can set the right tone, and that window is best when they are still growing up.
It is better to adopt a strict financial tone to develop positive values that will allow your children to adapt to the environment when they become adults, rather than subjecting them to a bombshell first-hand experience of harsh financial realities.