Have you ever heard the saying, ‘money won’t bring you happiness’ or ‘money is a necessary evil’?
This is the underlying negative message we hear a lot in society. Even in Hollywood films, characters with lots of money are often portrayed as the greedy and selfish villains.
So, our relationship with money begins.
Just the other day I experienced this on a Facebook Group that I am active in. It is a group for mums to chat about finances and one of the mum’s asked a straightforward question about whether the changes to childcare rebates for high income earners were based on pre or post tax income.
Well didn’t the knives come out! This lady was not being arrogant, not once did she big note herself, in fact she even acknowledged that she doesn’t begrudge people on low incomes doing it tough and thinks they deserve the assistance.
All she was trying to do was to see how her finances would be affected by the change.
Sure enough the post turned into a slanging match of people saying that she doesn’t deserve anyassistance because if she can’t afford to pay for child care on a high income then she clearly can’t manage a budget.
She was attacked simply for getting to a level where she earns a lot. I read through all of the 200 or so comments hoping for at least one person to ask what she did to get to the level she was at, with the hope that it inspired someone to strive for something more.
But, alas, there was not a single comment of this nature, it was all focused on the negative message that anyone that earns a lot or is open about wanting to be financially free is no good.
Another example was that I was reading an article about the increases in interest rates and the high median house price in Sydney and Melbourne. In the comments section someone suggested that reading some property investing case studies and magazines could help to show people a way into the market that they hadn’t thought of.
Again didn’t the naysayers have something to say. She was accused of selling something, that she wouldn’t have a clue what it was like in today’s market etc etc. Not one person said tell me more I am interested to see if there is a way I could do things differently.
Now I don’t disagree the property prices are nuts in Sydney and Melbourne, and in the other example I don’t disagree that someone earning over $350,000 a year perhaps does not need assistance for child care but that is a debate for another day.
What was interesting is that because I have a prosperity mindset I went towards thinking how I can learn what they do or did to get where they are.
But most of the population, because of their deeply ingrained beliefs, went straight to a negative frame of mind and focused on a poverty mindset, all because of their early money beliefs.
Early money beliefs
When I was at school, it was applauded and admired to aspire to be a ‘fireman’ or a ‘doctor’. These are traditionally selfless roles and it showed you as a good-natured character.
If you were a gifted artist, this was also admired. The dream, however, was often tarnished with typical comments like ‘you can’t make a living from this line of work’ or ‘artists live on the poverty line, sometimes not able to eat’ (this was an actual comment from a parent). Imagine hearing this as a child – what does that even mean?
The message was lost because, as a child, we didn’t have any respect for finances and how it can make a positive impact if used wisely.
If we teach our children the importance of money management they learn about saving for the future. As a result their choice of career doesn’t have a bearing on their potential earnings.
We would rest easy knowing that we have given them tools to manage their finances responsibly. This is therefore an opportunity to build a solid foundation for themselves.
Creating a positive message about money starts at a young age, exposing kids to ideas like, saving for something they really want, understanding the value of money and its place in society.
To help get you started with sending a positive message I have developed my list of 15 fun at home activities to teach them about money.
You can also check out my age relevant activity books that are a great way to make learning about money interactive and fun.
Free from guilt
Knowing money empowers you to achieve a goal makes it seem less dirty and more aspirational.
Kids should be taught that when you pay for something you want, it is a positive transaction, not a negative one. It should not be tarnished with guilt.
I personally am very open and happy to discuss with family and friends how much we paid for our investments and other items, what income we have, what mistakes we have made along the way and I plan to continue this conversation with my children.
But it seems this is the exception rather than the rule. Whether it is tall poppy syndrome or just the Aussie ‘no worries, she will be right’ approach to life. As a country we seem to be quite closed off about discussing our financial aspirations.
We see the importance of understanding finances from an early age, the earlier the better, to encourage a healthy relationship with money.
At Get Money Wise, the gift of teaching financial principles is one we want to share with our children.