Katherine Whitehorn, a British journalist born in 1928, once said this quote that came to be one of my favorites. Understanding how to manage money is based on respecting money. When money is limited you not only have to manage it but you also learn to respect it.
The childhood years is the time that is shaping us the most. We create habits, we develop our values and we learn about life. The way money is handled, received and perceived will play an important role in how the child grows to view money. A child more often learn from watching the actions of their parents rather than what they try to teach their child through words. Everyday the parents are role models and lead by example, there are two important aspects that will shape the way the child perceives money.
- The way the parents treat money.
- How money is given to the child.
Growing up with little money gives you no choice but to skillfully manage what you have. This is incorporated into the everyday lifestyle from carefully counting the cheapest groceries to being selective in what to buy. Being able to buy something is not a given, a child that has to save for months before buying their favorite game will think twice about all the small expenses that would prolong the waiting. The child will only buy what they really want after waiting for so long. Having to save before buy teaches financial patience, having to carefully manage money everyday teaches the essence of personal finances and the whole lifestyle teaches the real value of money. Seeing their parents living this lifestyle the child will quickly take after and develop a financial mindset.
Many hours of hard work will fast be thrown out the window just to get the latest smartphone. Instead, spending the money smart gives more value per hour spent earning the money. Money is like a shortcut to happiness, but it’s a rather shallow happiness that constantly needs to be refilled. In the absence of money a person learns to find joy that comes from life and that is not directly linked to what money has to offer. Finding happiness in life comes from what you do, activities, create, follow your passion and it also comes from how you spend your time living in the moments, spending time with friends and family, creating memories and building long lasting relationships. You might have experienced during Christmas that you enjoy giving the gift slightly more than receiving. This is because when you receive a gift you get an object and the caring thought behind it. When you give a gift you are influencing another person’s happiness and making any kind of positive impact on someone else’s life is a powerful emotion.
It is often said that poor people are the most generous. Throughout their lives they have learnt to find happiness through creating powerful emotions for themselves and for others without the use of money. If there is a bit of excess money and an opportunity comes to share, they will not hesitate, because being able to help or share with others will create far more powerful emotions than what money alone can do for oneself.
Challenge yourself to not spend any money for a month apart from what is necessary for a functioning life and discover in what activities and moments you can find joy without money. Set aside the money you save in the process and keep it for something special.