You and Your Money
Your Heart and Your Money
Practicality is only one side of the coin, though. You also have an emotional side that affects how you handle your practical side. For example, if you're comfortable with money (which doesn't mean that you're financially fixed—only that you're at ease with money concepts), you probably pay your bills on time and don't get into overspending trouble. But if you're intimidated by money, you may be reluctant to face your money chores or may spend without regard to the consequences. You also might delay making investment decisions.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you a spender or a saver?
- Do you buy, buy, buy, whether you need the thing—or even whether you can afford it?
- Do you hold onto a penny just to feel good about having it in your pocket, even though you deny yourself the things you logically know you can afford?
Watch Your Step
Some people have an unhealthy love of money. They've failed to heed the biblical caution that “The love of money is the root of all evil” (I Timothy 6:10, New Revised Standard Version).
Obviously, it's ideal to fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes of spendthrift and miser, spending only what's needed within your budget while also saving enough for future needs. In reality, however, most of us tend to fall on one side of the fence or the other.
You see, your emotional side colors what you do with respect to money—whether you meet your responsibilities or let them slide, and whether you spend your money wisely or horde it like Ebenezer Scrooge. Your child also has an emotional side and may already be a spender or a saver.
The word value has two meanings when it comes to money. First, values are your acts, customs, and ways of dealing with things—including money. Value also refers to the worth of an item in terms of money. Both concepts will be discussed throughout this book.
Values work as your guidelines in life. They stand like tall oaks in a forest, fixed and strong. You don't always live up to the values you treasure, but that doesn't mean that those values need to change. For example, you may highly value honesty, but you'd never tell your child that his performance in the school play was terrible.
You have your own set of values—what you learned as a child from your parents and what decisions you've made as an adult. However, you aren't the only one that teaches your child values. He also gleans values from what he is taught in school; what he watches on TV, sees in the movies, and listens to on the radio and on CDs; and what he sees demonstrated by his friends and their families.
Your challenge is to sort out your own values and recognize the values transmitted by outside influences. By doing this, you can take affirmative steps to enforce—and re-enforce—the values you want your child to adopt. After all, values aren't inherited like your brown hair or your artistic abilities; values need to be taught.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Money-Smart Kids © 1999 by Barbara Weltman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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