The Public Relations industry has crisis simulation firms that actually come into corporations and compress a hypothetical month-long disaster into a few stressful hours in order to see how management responds. I’d like to do something similar, but in the family financial arena with parents and children. Sadly, however, I don’t think many parents would hire me.
I’m in both the educational and the investment arenas, and from what I’ve witnessed, I feel that we have an entire generation that is careening out of financial control, with both parents and offspring having no idea what to do. In a recent poll of Americans, people were asked about their financial strategy for planning their retirement. A full 18% of all respondents said their strategy was “to win the lottery”. Folks, we have a major problem here.
Some of you might recognize the title of this blog as a variation of the lyrics penned by Sting — “The Russians love their children, too.” I recognize that most parents are totally devoted to their children. They attempt to pass on to the next generation the life lessons they deem important. So, why do financial literacy and responsibility seem so low on the priority list? Could it be that parents feel that “money is the root of all evil” or that you can’t be a nice person and wealthy too? Perhaps some parents lack self-confidence in their own money management skills. Whatever the roadblock, get over it!
Every major religion has something similar to the Ten Commandments. Why? Because life does not work well without these sorts of parameters. In fact, life only works with essential behavioral rules that parents must teach their offspring. I believe that for parents today, the Eleventh Commandment should deal with financial literacy and responsibility. Thou shalt teach them responsible money management!
Open dinner table discussions about saving, budgeting and spending money is how I started with my own son. Eventually, when he became a teenager earning money from his weekend auto detailing business, we moved forward to opening his bank and brokerage accounts and then exploring appropriate money management skills. Along the way, we dug into credit cards, debt and the value of a solid credit score. From there, it was not a big leap to introducing him to the stock market and other investment products.
I feel I have some “street cred” in lecturing other parents on this topic because at 24 years old, Grayson already has a more effective financial foundation than most adults I know. He even works in the financial services business these days. I succeeded in passing the financial baton to him because I believe I made it fun for him and sparked his interest by encouraging him to buy stocks of companies he patronized as a teenager. Today, he has a muscular financial knowledge and a vision for himself that leaves me 100% confident of his future.
So parents, I leave you with this challenge. Start today, take charge and make it fun. If GEICO can use a silly gecko to sell something as mundane as insurance, surely you can sell your kids on financial literacy.
P.S. As I write this, Grayson’s new book Trading for Dummies (4th edition, 2017) is ranked #109 on Amazon for books on investing analysis and strategy. Our father-son book, Tensile Trading (Wiley, 2016) is ranked #106 on that same list — so this Dad can still claim a parenting role.
Trade well; trade with discipline!
- Gatis Roze, MBA, CMT
- Grayson Roze
- Author, Tensile Trading: The 10 Essential Stages of Stock Market Mastery (Wiley, 2016)
- Presenter of the best-selling Tensile Trading DVD seminar
- Presenter of the How to Master Your Asset Allocation Profile DVD seminar
- Developer of the StockCharts.com Tensile Trading ChartPack