In construction, the cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.
When thinking about our kids, our goal as parents is to set them up on a solid foundation on which to build their lives. This includes sending them to school to learn math and literacy, teaching them proper nutrition and physical fitness, as well as nurturing the positive abilities and passions that they display early on in their development. We believe that these developmental years are not only critical for establishing successful emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and social skills for your child, but that the window of opportunity to do so is a lot smaller than most people realize.
One area of education that is often overlooked is the area of financial literacy. In a society that is so overwhelmingly prosperous, there are far too many people, of all ages, who do not have a healthy relationship with money. While many are quick to blame consumerism, greedy corporations, social pressures and other outside influences for the problems we face today, we know that, all too often, it was a lack of a good financial education early on that lead to many of these problems. People who are grounded in their financial belief’s are far less likely to be seduced by the latest fads, ads and pressures to keep up with status-based materialism.
Very few school systems have any classes dedicated to financial literacy, and even those that do, may not offer them until middle school or high school. Even many colleges offer no such instruction. By then it’s too late for many kids as the behavioral foundation has already been laid and their attitudes toward money, for better or worse, are firmly entrenched.
Just like any other subject, the earlier we can start teaching good spending and saving skills, the better. By starting early with a consistent message, we can set our kids on a pathway toward financial independence through good habits and sound decision making.
In this series, we will provide you with tips and tricks that you can use to better educate your kids or grandkids about personal finance and help them establish a healthy relationship with the idea of money that will serve them well long after they have left the nest.