Our children’s attitude towards money is largely fashioned by our attitude towards money. So if you and your wife fight about money, or argue about money or hide things from each other, rest assured your prince or princess is watching you.

One needs to be very clear in the communication with the kids. Keeping an open house is fine as long as you are sure that the kids are in good company. Some kids spend a lot of money and this creates heart burn for some parents. Some parents are proud when their kid spends money on good things!

If you and your wife come from very different backgrounds, meeting of the financial minds is difficult. If you do not hesitate traveling to a friend’s wedding in a different city – and spend say 20k on a wedding trip, but your wife will agonise over taking a Meru cab for attending a wedding how do you resolve it? Your kids get confusing signals.

If you and your husband pinch pennies BUT allow the children to buy you luxuries (as soon as they start earning) they get a signal THAT YOU DID NOT HAVE the money, so you did not spend. This can be dangerous because your kid will not be able to take 1 year off to prepare for GMAT nor 2 years to complete the course!

If you are open about your finances – remember your 7th standard kid can be bullied into parting with some details to unknown scamsters online. Easy to bully a kid…Imagine:

Scamster: You are poor.

Your kid: No of course, we are not.

Scamster: What car do you have?

Your kid: Toyota Corolla.

Scamster: Your father must have borrowed

Your kid: yes

Scamster: I am sure your father does not have a credit card

Your kid: of course he has!!

Scamster: tell me the number…..

That is it!

So when I say be open teach your kids to be careful of the net, of wassup, ….any interaction with strangers.

Tell your kids you have money for essentials, you are willing to INVEST for education, you need money for your Retirement. Take them through the calculations. Tell them that even when you have Rs. 8 crores in net worth you may struggle to spend Rs. 8 Lakhs on a vacation, but will happily sign a Rs. 80L guarantee for an Ivy League education.

Make it clear that even if you have a nice networth you may struggle paying for a ‘Special course on Photography’ or ‘Hair Dressing’ if the cost is more than US $ 75,000.

Explain your financial situation, tell your kids what is theirs by right and what as a favor. Tell them Rs. 20 lakhs is my contribution towards your education, but Rs. 40 lakhs above that is a LOAN and is repayable WITHOUT interest but within 6 years of his getting a job.

Have money, plan well, share info with kids well, keep them safe by telling them what you think is safe, teach them to take risks (son it is fine if you want to experiment being a football coach for 3 years, I can afford to support you), tell them what you will support, what you will not.

Let them grow up to be nice smart, confident, risk understanding responsible citizens. If they see you like that, they will want to emulate you. If they do not, they will NOT.

So above all, behave well.


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  1. wholeheartedly agree. on the lighter side.. Setting a good example for children takes all the fun out of middle age. 🙂

  2. Good one Subra..( as usual) Sharing within group I think it is important more people read and digest it.

  3. Very nicely said. My kid just turned ONE. I have to follow at least some of these.

    My parents never had any open conversation about money with me. But, I knew they had ZERO savings. Their only goal was to give us the essentials including the education (which was expensive with the cashflow they had). Borrowing was the only option. They even bought me a computer which was a luxury.

    By the time I completed my Engineering, my father had 75k debt for my college. We never had any discussion on who should repay. They wanted to continue their work as usual and was planning to pay on their own. Probably, wrongly believed that it was wrong to ask son to repay.

    Even when they retired (from the shop they owned) and came with us, they literally had ZERO savings. They had no financial independence. I think such is the case for many parents of such background, if not majority.

    1. Parents should have saved something for their own during their 30 years of hard work.
    2. They should say their kids to pay them X amount each month after getting the job.
    3. They should have some lumpsum X amount before they retire to have least minimal financial independence.

    And, when I do repay the loan or when I pay X amount to them, there is nothing I should feel great about. Sometimes, I feel great about this, which is a non-sense. In fact, I should have made sure they had the financial independence before they came to me. Even with the knowledge and education I had, I was still illeterate and learned from my mistake only later.

  4. Vishnu do you realize how much life insurance you need? what would have happened if (sorry!) had died while doing your Engineering? If you were unemployed?

    People have to do everything in a balanced manner. Yes spending for education is good, but spending MORE for education is not better!

  5. Subra,

    The situation is very difficult to imagine. We would have been dependant on close relatives and friends.

    For my parents, Insurance was a Savings mechanism. Really nothing more.

    Until 5 years back, I never knew TERM insurance exists. I used to think Health Insurance is not required with the mecial cost we used to have in the small towns Never thought of costly dieases :).

    Now, with the oppurtunities to learn, I am better. (Implement only part of what I read for sure)

    I wish my parents too knew. But, I am not sure what would have made them learn? They were illiterate. Their parents did the same. Many people around them did the same.

  6. If you are actually advocating that parents control their adult children, then I disagree. Adults can be guided but no one, not even their parents has the right to control them. Parents should do a good job inculcating values and leave children to control their own lives one they grow up and start earning. This especially goes for young women, who are financially controlled before marriage by their parents and then their husbands.

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