Preparing the next generation to engage with their finances

Preparing the next generation to engage with their finances - September 2023

Breaking down barriers around talking about family wealth takes time and patience. It requires ongoing conversations and a willingness to address any fears or concerns that may arise. By starting early and progressively educating the younger generations, families can establish a foundation of knowledge and create a legacy of open communication and responsible wealth management.

It is essential to encourage younger family members to engage with their finances from an early age. These tips can help lay a strong foundation for money management and financial literacy in the next generation.

1. Start sooner rather than later: Begin conversations about money when children are preschool or primary school age. Teach them basic concepts such as saving, spending and the value of money. As they age, introduce more complex ideas like budgeting, investing, responsible credit use and philanthropy.
2. Share stories and values: Discuss the family’s history, values and journey to wealth accumulation. Sharing stories and personal experiences can help younger generations understand the importance of responsible wealth management and its associated values.
3. Focus on what interests them: Children learn through observation, play and experimentation. Find opportunities to engage them in money-related topics based on their interests. For example, if they love playing Minecraft, use it to teach them about budgeting and earning virtual money.
4. Identify personal goals and priorities: Increase their responsibility as they get older by providing pocket money or an allowance. Encourage them to make spending decisions based on individual goals and priorities. It’s okay to acknowledge disappointment when they can’t have everything they want.
5. Gradually disclose information: Start by sharing lower-level concepts and provide more detail as the younger generations grow older and demonstrate a greater understanding and maturity. This will help prevent overwhelming them with information while allowing them to develop a solid foundation of knowledge.
6. Learning from mistakes: Allow children to make and learn from age-appropriate mistakes. Minor errors now can prevent bigger ones in the future. Help them reflect on their decisions and find ways to do things differently next time.
7. Have honest and age-appropriate conversations: Encourage open and honest communication within the family. Make it clear that discussing family wealth is not taboo and that everyone’s perspectives and opinions are valued. Ensure they understand the family’s financial situation is not their fault or responsibility.
8. Approaching financial challenges: Children pick up on their parent’s emotions. Evaluate your feelings before discussing financial matters with children. Seek support from a friend or family member if needed. Show them how to approach economic challenges with a proactive mindset.
9. Set boundaries around money: Money should not be used to control family dynamics. Avoid overpromising or overindulging children’s wants. Help them appreciate non-materialistic things like shared experiences and relationships. Set boundaries around money and explain the reasons behind them.

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