After perusing through this week’s New York Times (NYT), I came across an article titled “What Have Your Parents Taught You About Money?” and thought to myself…do I know everything there is to know about money? Do I have the right amount of knowledge to guide myself through a personal financial crisis? Being a senior in college, on the verge of graduation, I believe this is a very relevant topic for both parents and children to talk about. The New York Times article showed a graph of money and time, designed to show that lots of money plus lots of time equals lots of excitement. While this may be true, how does one achieve the end result of more money and more time?
Through personal experience I have learned that money does not grow on trees, and if I want to be successful I have to work hard and be dedicated. This lesson was taught through the receipt of countless allowances for chores lists throughout my childhood. I have always been intrigued by how much things cost and how I might afford them…on my own, without asking my parents for help. I’m sure you can imagine that this was not always an easy task. Countless times, no matter how hard I tried or how much I saved, the product was simply out of my price range. But saving was the key to my childhood “money management” classes. The more I saved, the more I appreciated it in the end, and this still rings true today. The phrase “instant gratification” comes to mind when discussing savings. After receiving holiday or birthday gifts, many children want to spend all of their money immediately. But the children who save their cash and gift cards will have the ability to obtain the more expensive or more high-tech toy in the end. I have been on both ends of this equation, and can honestly say that as a child saving is never the first priority. However, having moved out of childhood and through college, saving is always the first priority.
In the referenced NYT article, a theory was proposed by Laura Hamilton, sociology professor at the University of California, stating that “students who get a blank check from their parents may not take their college education seriously…these students had mediocre G.P.A.’s and some do not even study.” Do you agree with this statement? Surely the theory could be argued from both sides, but is it accurate to make this generalization about all students? I have spent the last four years at a renowned university and have experienced fellow students who, according to Laura Hamilton, fit the definition of “spoiled”, yet they excel in both academics and athletics. These students understand the value of money and are pursuing their dreams of being financially independent, after having been fortunate to be raised with a stable economic foundation. Who is to say that all college students who are fortunate to have their parents pay tuition are lazy? I believe this is too broad of a generalization. While I have been fortunate enough to have been given a “blank check” I do not take my education for granted. I know that I am here for a reason. I am a student because I choose to be. I value my education and all that goes with it. I know why I am here: to secure employment in five months and start on my own financial path, and I am fortunate to say that I have the financial foundation to do so.
Now I ask you, what have you taught your children about money? Is saving money a number one priority? Do you give your children endless amounts of money? Will you teach your children to be financially stable, while they also excel in and outside of the classroom?
To read more visit: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/what-have-your-parents-taught-you-about-money/