Sunday, August 10, 2008

From a child's perspective...

I had my niece (6) and my nephew (10) for a sleepover the other night. They live in a 4000' + house and have an entire room designated just as a playroom, a basketball court and fort in their backyard, always wearing new clothes, etc. I live in a 750' condo and tend to have fewer possessions than most. I like to think I live a more simple life. Anyway, my niece made several comments about how small my home is, and that I don't have very many "things." It was somewhat interesting to hear these things from a 6 year old. She asked me if I was ever going to get a new car and do I want to go shopping for new clothes, lots of things like this. Well, then finally she asked the big question I could tell had been eluding her so far. "Auntie, are you poor?" I was kind of taken aback! How do you answer something like that to a 6 year old? I told her that I live in a smaller home because I live alone and that I am a one income family so I have to be choosier about what I spend my money on. I also told her that I like to put a lot of my paycheck in the bank so that it is there in case I need it sometime, for an emergency. I didn't want to give her too much to overwhelm her with, but I wanted to get the basics across. My nephew was in the room, but not participating in the conversation. He did however speak up and ask me if I always put money into savings. Since he is older, I gave him more information and told him about my budget. He was very interested in this and wanted to hear more. My niece had gotten bored with the conversation at this point and was back to coloring, no longer interested in hearing whether I was poor or not. I was really proud of my nephew though and his interest in money and budgeting. He told me that he is saving up to buy a game he wants for his Nintendo DS, but he also thinks it might be time to start saving money for his first car. He says, "you know, Auntie, I want a really cool car and they are expensive, I should start saving." I imagine that when it comes down to buying his first car, he will be happy with anything. I know I was. :) I think this was probably my favorite part of my 10 day staycation! I was so proud of him!!

6 comments:

Kansas Simplicity said...

LOL...No Auntie is the one with the money in the Bank and has prepared for life and lives a simple yet rewarding life? This is priceless and I am sure the future will be interesting for the niece and nephew for choices and decisions with money. A family that moved into my building (3 children, 2 parents)and the first things Mom did was sort of apologize for living here. I just laughed yet thought about the children listening and what is the impact? Anyway, great post and thanks for sharing.

Escape Brooklyn said...

Thank goodness you can provide an alternative for your nephew and niece! It's so frustrating to see kids grow up with a skewed perspective on what everything actually costs, not realizing the debt and lack of savings their parents have. I think a lot of young people are going to be sorely disappointed when they get out on their own and realize they can't afford the lifestyle they grew up with. (Something our generation, Generation X, is also experiencing, IMO.)

indebt said...

Great post! I totally agree with the above comment.

Pennygather said...

Man...I wish I'd been as keen on planning for my future when I was 10!

Sharon said...

Great post...you might be a catalyst for your nephew for getting him started in saving! He may not get the info from his parents, as it sounds like they spend all of their money....

Jerry said...

You are teaching invaluable lessons. A sense of entitlement is rampant nowadays. Some firm guidance and a sense of responsibility are insurance for these kids' futures. You are doing great work to lead these kids in the right direction. Kudos!

Jerry
www.leads4insurance.com