If you’re a grandparent, you know that the special relationship you have with your grandkids is unlike any other. Of course, you have experience raising your own kids—instilling positive values in them, supporting them as they learn and grow, teaching them life lessons—but the bond between grandparents and grandchildren is different. As a grandparent, you are in a special position to influence young minds. Your grandkids look up to you. Why not use that influence to do some good?
Nothing beats story time with grandpa or grandma. Of course, it’s fun to tell tales of pirates and princesses, monsters and magicians, but story time is also a fantastic opportunity to tell your little ones about your life and your experiences—and to teach them a lesson or two along the way. So, why not include some financial lessons in the mix? Whether it’s the story of your first job, a tale of a trip you once took to a far-off place, or an account of your childhood, there are plenty of opportunities to weave lessons of personal finance into the narrative.
Here are some story ideas to get you thinking.
Tell them about the time you really wanted a new bike, but your mom said no. Explain how you worked for a whole summer and saved up every penny you earned to buy the bike of your dreams, complete with streamers and a silver bell. Let them know how good it felt to buy something you had worked so hard for.
Was there a time when you experienced a financial hardship? Maybe you lost your home in a fire or an earthquake. Maybe you found yourself sick but didn’t have the proper health coverage. Explain the economic toll of your experience and then share how you bounced back. What did you learn from the experience and how did it influence the way you planned your finances going forward?
The Emotional Rollercoaster
Don’t be afraid to weave emotions in with economics. Be honest about financial struggles, as well as financial milestones. Was there a time that your financial choices brought up strong emotions? Maybe to celebrate your retirement, you paid for a family vacation to Hawaii. It was a significant expense and required some sacrifices, but seeing your family all together enjoying one another’s company made you feel so happy that you knew it was worth the price tag.
The Chance to Give Back
Take advantage of the opportunity to share the importance of giving back. Whether you have a fond memory of ringing Salvation Army bells with your children at Christmas time or organizing a bake sale to raise money for a local community program, share how good it feels to contribute to something greater than yourself.
As an adult, you know that sometimes a smart financial decision requires a risk. Perhaps you took on debt to put yourself through nursing school, or maybe you took out a loan to start a business. It’s important to teach young children to be cautious with money, but not to be afraid of it. Sometimes risks are worth taking. It’s about understanding the risk and being prepared in case of the worst. Did you go on to lead a 30+ year career in nursing? Has the business you started grown exponentially? Share these triumphs and explain the power of investing in yourself.
Was there a time you had to learn a financial lesson the hard way? Let’s say you got your first big promotion when you were 30 years old. You were so excited that you bought a new luxury car and put a down payment on a house. Sure, these big-ticket expenses were a bit out of reach, but your new salary would cover it. A few months later, your company filed for bankruptcy. You lost your job and found yourself completely unprepared for the new position you were in. Explain how you forged a path forward and dug yourself out of the mess. Did the experience teach you the importance of budgeting? Of living within your means? Maybe of an having a rainy-day fund?
Whether we realize it or not, we’re always leading by example when it comes to money. From the way we speak (or don’t speak) about it to the way we save and spend it, the example we set can have long-term ramifications for our grandchildren’s financial futures. At The Humphreys Group, we frequently emphasize the importance of leading by example by both walking the walk and talking the talk. As a grandparent, what example are you setting? What story are you telling? Please reach out if you’d like to continue the conversation.