When you have children or grandchildren, your first thought is often, "How do I give them the world?" But the second may be, "How do I raise good, kind, generous people—the opposite of spoiled?" They can coexist, but what is the answer? I am definitely new here with 5-year-old twins and a 2 year old, but for those that are experienced and now have grandkids, I hope these are some good things to teach. Mine may not grasp it now, but one day (crossing fingers), some of it may sink in.
Below is my wish list for unspoiled children:
- You might think you want "stuff"—the clothes, the cars, the latest and greatest models—but trust me, you don't. The most valuable things in life can't be bought: health, family, friends. Earn and keep the respect of those you admire. What people are really after is respect. Lead by example and your kids will see your priorities in action.
- Most of your successes or failures are hard work and effort, but some of it is luck and timing. Your life (and people in general) is a culmination of the experiences you have, the family you started with, the people you meet, and the time you are born. You can be born into a recession or a flourishing economy, a war or peacetime. Keep this in mind when looking at people around you and making assumptions about their background.
- This is a hard wish for a parent, but I hope you are poor for some time in your life. Feeling the struggle of scarcity and having a mindset around austerity is powerful. It forces people to prioritize and realize that some of the things they want are not needs. Learn to live on a little, and you will be able to handle the hard times that happen by surprise.
- Someone will always be richer, smarter, more good-looking. The goalposts for success will always keep moving. It's a miserable cycle. Realize that having "enough" may be more emotional, so set goals about more than money. As parents, set an example by focusing on things that build intellect, joy, and resilience.
- Take a job that you are passionate about, and the success will come. It may not be monetary, but it will certainly be fulfilling and add years of longevity. If you don't know right away, don't worry—try something and don't be afraid to change as you learn more about yourself. It will pay you more to find something you love and feels like fun.
- It is smart to change your mind. You won't have it figured out the first time around. Confidence rises faster than ability. Changing your mind, learning new truths—it bruises your ego, but it is important. The most intelligent minds understand this ability to change.
- The best thing money buys is freedom of your time. Money gives you options and allows you to set your priorities. One day you will realize that financial freedom is priceless.
- "Debt is a burden that you carry with you every day." - Warren Buffett. Debt is a claim on your future, something you couldn't afford today paid with your dollars of tomorrow. Don't limit your future options by purchasing things you wanted in the past. As my father drilled into me—live within your means today.
- The difference between rich and wealthy all has to do with your savings rate. The ability to save and habitually do so will make you wealthy over time. It can make all the difference in the control of your financial future.
- Don't be afraid to disagree with people. The world changes. Values and opportunities are different. Questioning past beliefs and having curious thoughts is important.
If you have kids or know people that are trying to raise good humans (the opposite of spoiled), forward this on or have them give us a call. We work with families on these issues and have received great responses from the outcomes.