Tough Times? Leverage Your Skills And Teach The Kids
When times are tight, it’s the perfect opportunity to teach kids about money. During the last few years, when reading the news about the difficult economic times, high unemployment, and bankruptcies, we can’t help but feel like we are living in a Latin American country rather than in the U.S. Where did the stability that attracted us, our parents and grandparents to this country go? And if we add the recent political debates that have been taking place among pre-candidates… is understandable to feel uncertain about the future!
As Latinos, however, we have some advantages that we can leverage not only to move ahead but also to use the situation as platform to teach kids about money.
Given that Latin America is a region with a high level of unpredictability, we are better equipped to navigate crises. How many times did you hear your parents tell you stories about an economic, social, or political crisis in their country of origin? And if you were born in Latin America, how many did you experience?
That regional unpredictability along with the fact that in general, the system doesn’t work that well, contributes to most of us being quite creative at problem solving. When you never know if plan A is going to work, you always have a plan B and a plan C at the ready.
Hence, instead of hiding from your children the difficulties you may be experiencing and stressing over them alone, you may use the situation as an opportunity to strike valuable conversations with your kids. Sit down as a family and encourage them to come up with creative ways to save money, increase the family’s income and protect everyone from future financial problems. Obviously, the conversation will vary according to your kids’ ages, but if you frame them as a creative exercise (rather than as a chance for you to vent your personal fears) you can help your kids develop several important skills!
They will learn the value of versatility and of planning for alternative scenarios. Asking them for ideas on how to expand income may surprise you too. Nowadays, kids are much more entrepreneurial than years ago, and they may suggest things that you never thought possible.
In times of high levels of uncertainty, there’s nothing more important than to strengthen family ties, evaluate options and decide on an action plan together. Contrary to what you may think, these open conversations may help put some of your kids’ fears to rest, it’s a great way to teach kids about money and it may give you lots of new ideas with which to play!