The parents-kids money divide: Young think differently about earning, spending, saving, investing


We count our past as if it were a beacon for life. An annoying mistake all parents make. Even if they decide not to do so. When I went to school, I walked those miles with rain and sun; when I was in college, I didn’t have that much money to spend; when I began to win, I gave it to my elders; and so on. Drift is understood. As Khalil Gibran reminds us, not even in our dreams can we visit the tomorrow in which the souls of our children live. But parents are relentless.

We must reconcile in our minds the marked differences of our world and theirs. It is not just advances in technology, information and education that have made their lives different from ours. Its frame of reference is different. Our frames can be terribly irrelevant. For each generation, that would be true. The story that fits into our world would become obsolete in your world.

A friend lamented that her son-in-law and daughter-in-law were not cooking their meals. He is considered a modernist who does not belong to the patriarchal role-playing game in a home. He is really proud that his daughter-in-law is just as professional as his son. But cooking is a skill for life, protest. It’s okay with any of them cooking fresh meals at home.

The son had his version to tell. My father never went into the kitchen, he said. So you don’t know what it takes to put fresh meals on the table. Baking itself can take a few minutes; but there is immense work involved in planning, buying the grocery store, storing it well, preparing, cleaning afterwards and managing leftovers. There are enough people with time to do all this, and do it well for others. So outsourcing works best for us, he says. As for health, we know more science than Dad, it was his chorus.

The perspective is different. But that is not enough reason to look for faults. It also happens with money and decisions around money. Young people think differently about earning, spending, saving, and investing. It might help if the parents have taken the trouble to understand how. Trade is risky and speculative, said the mother of a 32-year-old who loved the adrenaline rush of online trading. He will lose everything and take to the streets; it is addictive and will subsume your life, the mother worried.

The son had a much calmer explanation. He wanted to travel as much as he could with his wife. They were looking for adventure tourism and wanted to travel so they could experience different things around the world. Allocating money from their salaries seemed risky to them. So they decided to go it cheap and risk the low bandwidth you are only fooling yourself. If they made money they traveled; and they kept it in a small sum so that it would not hurt. They were annoyed that their mother painted them both black.

They also felt that the father did not understand indulgences with moderation and control. It is possible to implement tactics if one is not nervous and anxious about the outcome, something the father will not experience in their lives. They imagined that every decision had a high stakes. Another father was upset because his daughter quit her job after having a baby. We don’t educate her in one

management institute to see this day, they gave. How could you get a job and a significant annual income to raise a child? We offer to participate and help, unconditionally. But it seems relentless. They don’t value their career or money, parents lamented.

The daughter argued that she had meticulously planned a career break after her baby. She wanted to raise her son full time, until her son was ready to go to school. A 5 year break would be fine. She had built a corpus to go through; she will invest it wisely; and he could rebuild it all when he got back to work.

Remembering how her mother balanced work and home, the daughter felt it was too hard. My mother worked hard and burned both ends of the candle. He could not afford not to earn a regular income; nor could she feel secure in finding another job easily. All he did was use his income to hire some cleaning and childcare services, both of which were unsatisfactory by his own standards. How can that commitment be better than my well-thought-out career break, she asks.

Parents believe that they come with experience and perspective that should guide their children’s decisions. But children understand that experience may not always be relevant and that perspective may be limited by the arrogance of the past. Parents want to somehow protect their children from the horrible consequences of what they see as wrongdoing. But children like to take responsibility for their actions and their consequences.

We generalize dangerously, as we miss many nuances and the variety and diversity that exists in the parent-child relationship. But the main thing is that we may not be able to decide for them. Although we believe we have your best interests in mind. Or even if we are convinced that we know better. They will have to make their own decisions and find their way. It’s cruel to find the father smiling with a smile I told you, at the end of every struggle the child goes through. It’s their story; we can’t make it our own.

The worst sin is thus the one that brings them back to our context; the one who tells them our story to establish what we know. Our experience may not be relevant to your situation. I remember this anecdote: a father tells his 20-year-old son, Abe Lincoln, he learned on his own how to become a lawyer at that age; wonder. The son responds: Obama was the president of the United States before he turned 50; wonder! We can all seek inspiration and become what we want to be. But that is a personal quest. Being a parent alone does not equip us with the ability to be a permanent inspiration in the lives of our children. We are just one of the many things that inspire them to become who they want to be. Life or money, it doesn’t matter.

(The author is the PRESIDENT OF THE CENTER FOR EDUCATION AND LEARNING FOR INVESTMENT.)



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