Finances are quite important to me – I deal with other people’s finances in my work life and I’m in charge of our family finances at home. Teaching our children the value of money – earning it and saving for things is going to be very important to me. We became debt free last month and I will always be open and honest with the children about how easy it is to get into debt and how hard it is to get out of it!
Think Money are running a competition to inspire the next generation to manage their money better.
Our children are too young at the moment to even understand what money is, but later in life there are a lot of things that I would like to teach them about money so I’ve written them this letter to guide them down the right path.
1st January 2021
Athena and Troy,
This year you’re going to be 10 and 8. This is a year that you will remember for the rest of your lives and a year that dreams are made from. This is the year we are going to Disney World in Florida!! We started saving for this holiday when Athena was born – £50 every month into a savings account that we called our Florida account. You see, Daddy and I had a dream that one day we would take you to Disney World. I have never been and Daddy went when he was 8 and Uncle Christopher was 10 and he loved it. It’s a holiday that he’s probably told you about endlessly! We wanted you to have a holiday like that and so we started saving for it – we could never afford it otherwise!
This is why I’m writing you this letter. I want you to know how important it is to save for things that you’d like and how in order to save for things you’ll need to work for them first.
By now you will have been getting a little bit of pocket money from Daddy and I. We always ask you to do little jobs for us before we give you that pocket money – you help emptying the dishwasher, dusting, putting the food shopping away, sorting out the clean washing and putting it away. You also help Daddy wash the car when the weather’s nice. I know that you don’t love doing these things – you’d rather be playing in the garden or watching TV, but we’re trying to prepare you for when you’re all grown up and you have to go to work. You’ll go to work like Daddy and I do, you’d rather stay at home in bed, but you’ll go to work, you’ll earn money and you’ll get paid once a month.
You’ll probably get a Saturday job when you’re a teenager. You’ll have a paper round or you’ll work in a shop. You’ll learn so much from working and those first few pay days where you see all that money in your bank account and you can take the cash from the machine like Daddy and I do will feel so rewarding to you – you’ll realise that you’ve earned that money – you’ve worked for it, and you’ll be incredibly proud of yourself – just like I will be.
When you start to earn money, Daddy and I will ask you to do something. Actually we’ll probably tell you to do something. We’ll get you to put some of the money you earn, maybe a quarter of it, into a savings account. You won’t like this very much – that’s why I’m getting you used to the idea now, but this money you will save year after year. Then, when you’re older and you want to learn to drive buy a car or have a holiday with your friends that money will be there – you’ll have worked for it, saved it and been able to buy something much bigger with it than if you’d spent it every month.
When you start working full time you’ll probably start thinking about moving out of our family home. That seems like such a long way off but I know it will be here before I know it! Saving some of your pay every month will get you used to losing some of your pay straight away – it will prepare you for paying rent and bills and that transition won’t be as hard for you, although the amount you pay out will be a lot more than a quarter of your pay – I can guarantee it!
The main thing I want to start teaching you now is that you need to work for everything in life. You work, you save and then you do things that you want to do – or buy the things you’d like. You will get offered credit cards and overdrafts from the minute you turn 18 and I’d like you to have them – in case you need them for an emergency, if you really, really need the money, but I don’t want you to buy new things on your credit card or go on holiday with your overdraft. I would like you both to appreciate that spending money is so much better when you’ve earned it yourself!
Athena and Troy, 2021 is going to be a fantastic year. Daddy and I cannot wait to take you to Disney World. You will always remember this year and it will only happen once. The other things in this letter I will keep telling you, keep teaching you and I will always try and steer you in the right direction where money is concerned.
If you’d like more information about the competition you can find it here.