Topic 2: Protecting Yourself FROM Yourself

No matter how hard we try to always do what is in our own best interest, human nature can sometimes take us in exactly the opposite direction to where we wanted to go. Temptations come our way, and we don’t always have the will power or self-discipline to resist, e.g. we know we should exercise more, but we don’t; we know we should eat healthier food, but we don’t, and we know we should save and invest for our future.

We find it difficult to get that right as well! Part of the maturing process as an adult is to realise that we need to protect ourselves from ourselves. By letting your kids see that even grown-ups must take deliberate steps to be the best versions of themselves they can be, you help them to realise that this is just a natural part of life.

Below are some ideas on how you can teach your children how to Protect Themselves FROM Themselves:

Lower Primary School Years:

Look for opportunities to identify times when you can show your kids that you could have made better decisions, whether that is when you are out and about, perhaps driving in traffic, or at home doing things around the house.

At this age you just want your kids to know that even big people have challenges doing the things they know they ought to be doing and they don’t always get things right.

For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic and you ‘have your say’ about what happened, once you have cooled off you might say to your kids, “You know I have actually done the same thing myself so I should not have been so cranky at that other driver just now!”. “Now I know how much it makes other people angry when I do it to them!”

Upper Primary School Years:

Look for opportunities to talk about other people who have made obviously stupid financial choices and talk about what might have motivated them to making those choices.

Look for opportunities to talk about previous spending decisions your kids have made that they now regret because they have lost interest in the ‘thing’ they bought and they now have to wait longer to save up for something they want more than what they previously purchased.

This may also present an opportunity to discuss the idea of selling the initially purchased item, and how little they might be able to get for it, i.e. depreciation.

Lower High School Years:

At this age you should be starting to talk about personality profiles and love languages with your kids and how these impact the way they interact with others and how they feel about and deal with themselves.

You want your kids to see the strengths they have that make them unique and special in order to help them with self-esteem and to help them in career aspirations. Choosing a career path that does not fit their personality profile or their love language will only lead to a hard working life.

For example, an introvert would be a square peg in a round hole as a receptionist at a hotel desk. An extrovert would find it hard as an accountant because looking at numbers on computer screens all day long is a long way from talking to people and making them laugh and interact.

Upper High School Years:

Looking at their heroes and pointing out that these people use self-discipline and the support of other people in order to be so good that fans look up to them.

As a parent you can help by:

  • Pointing out that they will most likely need to protect themselves from themselves many times in their life and help them to recognise this fact using the examples from their own life in a constructive way.
  • Looking at their heroes and pointing out that these people use self-discipline and the support of other people in order to be so good that fans look up to them.
  • Setting a good example with your own money management.
  • Talking about your family’s finances and the steps you as parents are taking to make good decisions. WARNING… You will most likely find that your kids will be too good at helping you to stick to your own rules.
  • Letting your kids know about your weaknesses and the systems you have put in place to help you overcome them.
  • Describing to your kids how they can use systems, bank accounts, rules and games to achieve their best financial outcomes and discuss the reasons why.
  • Using Piggy Banks to represent Bank Accounts and give them pocket money to be allocated to different piggy banks.
  • Letting your kids know about the money rules you have and why.
  • Talking about the games you use (or could use) to make achieving a money goal easier.

By the time your kids reach adulthood they should:

  • Know about their own personality type and love languages and how these will affect the way they make financial decisions
  • Know their potential strengths and weaknesses and vulnerabilities relating to money
  • Know the reasons why they should develop strategies to help them be successful with money
  • Understand that they will need to protect themselves from themselves when it comes to moneyKnow different strategies they can use to protect themselves from themselves such as:

o   Using Bank Accounts

o   Making Rules

o   Playing Games

  • Have bank accounts in place to allocate and protect funds for:

o   Regular Recurring Payments/Bills

o   Weekly Living expenses including Food, Fuel, Fun and Incidental Expenses

o   Accumulating an emergency ‘life happens’ buffer fund

  • A deposit for a house

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