Sunday, January 3, 2010

Money matters and your child - Part I

Considering the price rise these days, juggling essential expenses like those related to household, education, the comforts (like eating out, entertainment etc.,) we have got used to, would be a challenge that every homemaker faces. Furthermore, children these days look for nothing but the best come what may.

I remember during our childhood our monetary requirements were very modest due to these following reasons:
1. We were not brand conscious and hence anything which our parents bought would do.
2. Our parents encouraged us to be responsible with our money. Pocket money of course was unheard of. Whenever we wanted any money which was basically something which the school had asked us either for picnics or for some charity, we would ask for the required amount and we had the liberty of taking the money from the family box once we had the permission.
3. In case we had to entertain our friends it was done at home.

But today our children are living in a 'brand era' thanks to peer pressure or continuous exposure to sophisticated advertising. Their wants have increased tremendously and their demands do not seem to show concern for the 'value for money' concept. This is what led me to think - shouldn't children be given sound financial management knowledge at an early age? And sooner the better. Schools do not teach any of this and therefore children are ill equipped to deal with money in day-to-day life.

Children also seem to have a different take on the 'value'. "It's only Rs.1,500. Isn't that cheap? My friend got it for Rs.2,200." And for what? A Football club branded T-shirt.

This has set me thinking as to how as parents we can teach our children the value of money. Right from a young age, they have got used to comforts and luxury. They have always travelled by car (although, thankfully, we insisted that they travel to school in bus / school van), eaten in modestly good restaurants, have got admissions into good schools - in short they have got it all. Though from the beginning we have tried to be quite modest in our expenditure, as children grow older, I see the peer pressure clearly having an upper hand. As a result, disappointments are aplenty as their wants do not seem to match with our expectations of what they should get. This really worries me a lot. How will they ever learn to be happy and realise that there is no end to their wants?

I always give them what they call as 'lecture' on how important it is for them to realise that material things will never give them long-lasting happiness and there will always be one more last thing that they need. But it never ends there, does it?

Hence I am putting down a few thoughts I felt would atleast try and bring things into perspective for our children in part two of my blog.

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