Your clients’ attitudes and beliefs about money have their roots in value-laden messages they have picked up along life's journey. These money messages were not only clothed in the words of others, but in the behaviors they observed as well. To discover the roots of current financial feelings and behaviors, it is important for them to first examine their childhood experiences.
As you guide your clients in a review of their own money history, they will gain tremendous insight into the money messages that have consciously and subconsciously influenced their financial decisions on a day-to-day basis. This growing awareness will not only foster positive change in their financial lives, but also nurture an increasing awareness of the money messages they themselves are transmitting to younger generations.
Many will begin to express concern about the financial future of the young people they care most about, and look to you for guidance on how they can be a positive influence in shaping their financial well-being. This is a worthy goal and one that you will most certainly want to support. Therefore, here are suggestions and resources you can share to help them on the path to becoming a proactive Money Mentor:
How to Become a Proactive Money Mentor
So what can you do if you are worried about the financial future of your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews? The best place to start is by considering all of the ways that you can be a positive influence in shaping their money smarts and healthy attitudes about earning, saving, and sharing. Next, choose specific ways to become a proactive Money Mentor in their lives. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Set a Good Example—First and foremost, examine your own money behaviors and take action to get your financial life in order. Always remember that nothing is more effective in guiding the younger generation than providing a powerful role model. An excellent handbook for helping you to reach this goal is "You and Your Money" by Lois A. Vitt and Karen L. Murrell.
Assess Your Attitudes—Becoming more aware of the internal messages that shape how you think and feel about your personal finances will help you to be more mindful of the money messages you are passing along to the young people in your life. A good resource to guide this more internal exploration is "Caring for Your Soul in Matters of Money" by Karen Ramsey.
Be Aware & Prepared—Stay alert for teachable moments to communicate positive money messages and to share your financial expertise and wisdom. Very few topics affect us on a day-to-day basis like money, so there are endless opportunities to provide mini financial lessons via word and example. A great handbook to prepare you for this journey is "The Opposite of Spoiled" by New York Times money columnist, Ron Lieber. It covers everythingabout how, when, and why to talk to kids about money, whether they are three-years old or teenagers. "The Opposite of Spoiled" is both a practical guidebook and a values-based philosophy.
Use Tools—There are a number of great resources available to help make financial education fun and interesting for children. One example is the Moonjar, “a tool for children and families to incorporate strong financial values and practices into their daily lives.” The creator, Eulalie M. Scandiuzzi, explains the meaning behind the name of her product in this way:
Moon: "To shoot for the moon"; to go after dreams and goals.
Jar: Following ancient custom where wishes or dreams are written down and placed in a special jar for future celebration!
The Moonjar kit (www.moonjar.com) consists of three colorful moneyboxes (one each for spending, saving, and sharing), a special Moonjar elastic band to hold the assembled boxes together, a passbook for deposits and withdrawals, and a family guidebook.