I love the innocence of my children. Watching them play carefree is one of my greatest joys. I truly hate to take any of that innocence away, but when it comes to personal finance, innocence is not the values that I would want to encourage.
As I watched my son walk into the store this past weekend to buy his new Beyblade with his saved allowance, I was filled with pride. But I was also a little disturbed to see him holding his cash in his hand as he inspected the wears. While it was innocent enough, and I wasn’t afraid some thief would come up and snatch his money in Toys R’ Us, it was an excellent chance to impart the Gandalf Doctrine on him.
Your money is yours to have until the moment you decide to exchange it for something else I told him. Up until that moment, it is important to keep your Money Safe and Private (for child safety reasons we have a strict no secret rule in our house, so the term I use here is private).
As I told my son, how much money you have is no one’s business but your own. And you are under no obligation to tell anyone how much money you have. Nor do you have any right to know how much anyone one else has.
I reminded him that there are people in this world who would not think twice about taking what is not theirs. And for this reason, he must at all times keep his money somewhere safe.
I’m hoping this will be a good jumping off point to talk to him about:
1. No one has the right to tell you what to spend your money on
2. Where are safe places to keep his money
He took what I said to heart for the time. And while I am sure at some point he will forget the message, and I will have to deal with a misplaced dollar or worse a stolen bill, that too will be a lesson well learned. Hopefully, he learns the lessons now, while his money is for “Beys” and not rent.