How to Teach Children of Wealth the Value of Frugality
Children are not usually taught money management in high school or college. They pick it up through experience, by watching their friends, and by mimicking what their parents do. It’s fairly easy for middle class or poor families to teach children how to scrimp and save, as it’s often a necessity. But what about children in rich families? Teaching frugality to children growing up in a wealthy home could be even more important, so they don’t take their money for granted and pick up truly damaging habits. It’s going to take teaching by example, and following some very careful steps to make sure your children appreciate what they have, and understand what they need to do to insure they can always live within their means. Here are a few methods you can use to teach children of wealth the value of frugality.
Your kids will look to you to set the example, and your generosity will certainly be noted. So make charity a large part of your life. If you have enough wealth to not have to worry about money, help others less fortunate by contributing to reputable charities. And get your kids involved. Pick out a couple of charities you are passionate about, and ask them to choose one or two as well. Suggest a number of charities that support children, so they can see how your wealth can help other kids have a better life.
Kids who grow up in a wealthy family can have absolutely anything they want, but a more responsible choice is to simply make sure they have exactly what they need. Don’t get them every toy on the market. Keep their birthdays and holidays reasonable, so they don’t grow up expecting to have much more than they need. And if they do get dozens of presents for their birthday, ask them to pick their favorites and donate the rest. They’ll appreciate what they have much more this way, which will lead to more frugal choices down the line.
Wealthy individuals can be tempted to trick out their lives with all the bells and whistles, but your children will take their cues from that. Again, focus on the necessities, make sure everyone is comfortable, but don’t fill your lives with every toy and extra. Instead of buying lavish things, consider investing in experiences. Give your kids unique educational opportunities. Take fantastic vacations that involve learning about new cultures. Show them that good memories and not fancy goods are what they should focus on collecting.
If you want your child to adopt a frugal state of mind, avoid surrounding them with brand names. Our culture is so focused on fancy labels, that it can be all too easy for your children to expect the best of everything. Show them that quality clothing doesn’t always mean designer brands, and that a Toyota can be just as dependable a vehicle as a Porsche. Sure, you can have nice things, but don’t always make it about the label, and definitely don’t focus on those labels as symbols of status. Keep them away from mainstream advertising that gives the wrong message, and every once in a while show them the value of hunting down a deal with printable coupons or discount shopping. If you start early with this and keep it consistent, they won’t see it as anything other than normal.