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  • How Your Kids Acquire Your Attitude Towards Money

    The way you handle your finances can deeply influence how your kids treat money as adults.
    by Shane Arante .
How Your Kids Acquire Your Attitude Towards Money
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Growing up, our parents were our first teachers when it comes to handling money. And studies have revealed that the financial beliefs and behaviors of parents can significantly affect their children’s economic outcomes.

    If you know someone who seems to have bad money habits, keep in mind that four financial patterns that influence one’s actions. As identified by financial psychologist Bradley Klontz and his co-authors, these are money avoidance, money worship, money status, and money vigilance.

    Money avoidance is strongly associated with a fear of or discomfort with money, while money worship pushes people to overvalue money. Money status causes people to associate their self-worth with cash and look at it as a unit of measurement. Lastly, money vigilance is a factor related to saving money.

    After years of observing the financial patterns of our parents and guardians, one can absorb these messages about money and develop subconscious views called “money scripts.” Money scripts, as powerful as they sound, can be passed down through generations, meaning we might have inherited ours from our grandparents!

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    Some parents feel uncomfortable discussing money matters, while some give mixed messages about money. There are stories of people who grew up watching their parents ignore their loans, which eventually led to damaging their credit, making them swim in a sea of debt. However, some parents kept on insisting that they could afford the payments, but when it was finally time to pay the bills, they would fall short.

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    Although saving is usually seen as a good habit, Stephen Newland, a financial counselor, has revealed that he has seen savers have just as unhealthy a relationship with money as spenders. Due to fear and guilt combined, these savers find it extremely hard to spend money, even on their daily needs.

    In spite of all these patterns, one can still snap out of a bad habit by looking inward. Knowing that preconceived ideas and beliefs come from our guardians, it is essential to ask yourself the question, “Do I see any of these habits in my own life today?” Not only will this question change your life, but also the future of your own children, to help them break the cycle and avoid the same mistakes.

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    Learning should also go beyond the walls of your home, as formal classes in financial literacy can help children adopt a logical approach towards money matters. In the words of Annamaria Lusardi, a professor of Economics at George Washington, “With better financial literacy, people can make decisions about debt that are rational, that are informed.”

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