This is part 2 of tips for abundant thinking for parents. Try to re-imagine your relationship to money so you can be more successful and happy and teach your children how to relate positively toward their finances. For the previous 10 tips, read: Abundant Thinking for Parents (part 1).
11. Dream big, failure is only fuel for the journey to success.
Most people have small goals (like “save enough money to go to Hawaii for a week”) and relatively simple business plans to get what they desire (like “work double shifts until I have enough money to go to Hawaii”). If that is adequate for you, then right on! If you’d rather just go to Hawaii whenever you feel so inclined (or Iceland, or London, Paris, a pilgrimage to India and Africa…) then taking action to get those good things is what you have to do. Setting small goals is something that everyone already does. If you think of each thing you do throughout the day as a business venture, you’ll see your success rate for these small goals is much higher than you thought. You want food, you go to the refrigerator and you get food, make it into a meal and eat it for satisfaction. You have to get to work on time and you get there on time or relatively on time. You need to pick up your kids from school, you pick them up. Life is all about setting goals and accomplishing them successfully or unsuccessfully and learning from both on what works and doesn’t work.
This is no different than opening a business. The processes for making something to eat and jump-starting a business are different but the mentality is the same: desire, action, result. You believe you can do it and so it is done. Some days you don’t have anything good to eat and you wind up snacking on inadequate food substitutes just as some business ventures fail. But the difference between success is that you never stop believing in your ability to make a satisfying meal any more than you believe you can entrepreneur. The belief that you can be successful despite the large or small goals that you set for yourself is a hugely important lesson to pass along. Your children watch your moves and when you pursue success regardless of how “large” or “small” these successes are, this communicates to your kids that success is weighted in your ability to learn from your mistakes and continue to “get back on the horse” when you fall off. 🙂
12. There is never going to be “the ideal place” or time.
There is NOW. Find comfort in uncertainty and chaos and you will be able to thrive in all and any circumstance. If you are waiting to open your own business until… or haven’t taken your kid to the Grand Canyon because… or whatever, just know there will never be the perfect time. Just like planning a picnic, the weather no matter how reasonably accurate predictions seem, is unpredictable. Sometimes your outside adventures will go off without a hitch and the weather will “cooperate.” However, there will be just as many picnicking times when a random breeze makes you wish you had a jacket, a spontaneous rainfall soaks your sandwiches and clothing, and a hotter-than-advertised day makes you wish you had packed something other than soup and tea. That is just life and the same unpredictability applies to the markets, business, and money.
Money and spending habits are driven off emotion. This is why holiday spending is such a boon for businesses and why in times of uncertainty people spend less money. Making money is unpredictable like the weather and yet because it is unpredictable, it can be very easy to predict in some ways. When it looks gloomy, bring an umbrella and a jacket. When it’s really sunny outside, layer your clothes. If you truly want to break free of negative money relationships to provide the best life possible for yourself and your family, then leave behind your waiting. Learn how to jump into the puddles, zen out the cold, breathe through the heat, and enjoy the turbulence of NOW. Jump in and invest in yourself and your family even if it doesn’t seem like the right time, the best time, the ideal place, or whatever. You can’t make things better if you don’t have the resources. You get the resources by investing in those resources. When you don’t have much, that resource is yourself. What’s stopping you, really?
13. It’s not how much you save, it’s how well you earn.
To stop counting pennies and to actually fill the jar (and another, and then start adding lots of place values in money to your bank account) it takes earning money efficiently. Anyone can save money, but not everyone is going to earn enough to cover all their costs and then have some to squirrel away after spending freely on what makes you happy and healthy. So setting up a way to continually “cash in” is what earning well means. Maybe that is owning and running your own business. Maybe that looks like investing in stocks and bonds to you. Maybe that earning well and “cashing in” is residual income from other projects– websites, books, records, whatever. The point is that you, the financial farmer, must lay the crops so you can reap the benefits. What kind of crops do you have a passion for? Find ways to make those passions become a money-earning reality. There are limitless ways to “make money”– it is up to you to figure out how you can turn those seeds of ideas and interests into earnings so you can stop tapping into your savings and actually earn enough that you don’t need to think about “saving” as it just happens automatically.
14. Be frugal.
You can also read this as “live below your means.” There is a healthy list of “you don’t need to buy” tips on reducing costs which you can figure out on your own (and those that are most applicable to yourself) but without going into a list of random things “you don’t need to buy” there are simple things you can do to keep a watch on frivolous spending. Some examples are: when you can patch your own clothes easily, do it. When you can make your own food, do it. When you can get gas money from car-pooling, do it. When you can write something off on your taxes, do it. When you can reduce costs easily and effectively– just as effectively if not more so than buying it– then do it. In a “throw-away” culture, we are taught to just get a new one when the old one breaks. However, this is erroneous thinking. We don’t have to buy a new shirt because the button fell off, just sew it back on. Even to take your shirt to the tailor and have it repaired is cheaper than to buy a new shirt altogether. This is frugality. Frugality doesn’t mean never spending money, it just means spending money when it’s necessary and not just because you can.
Another aspect to being frugal– or spending money wisely– is avoiding expenditure on things that you can’t afford. Teaching your children how to live within their means and to only buy what they can afford, to reduce and reuse and recycle what they can (or upcycle as it’s called these days) is a lesson crucial in these times and truly any time. Your children won’t know the pain and loss of eviction or foreclosure because they were too attached to a dream that wasn’t within their means. Your children won’t have to suffer the frustration and uncertainty of crushing debt because credit is easy to get and hard to pay off. Living within your means might still include buying on credit. Buying on credit is an investment and sometimes that is the only way to invest. However, using credit to invest versus purchasing unnecessary things out of your income range and ability to “pay off” later is not spending money wisely or living within your means. This is why people get themselves into financial difficulties– for spending money they don’t have (on credit) without thinking on whether or not they’ll be able to pay it back. Teach your children how to reduce their expenses by re-using their things, repairing their things, and recycling their things into better and improved uses. This is being frugal and living within your means. This is the lesson to impart financially.
15. Know when to take risks.
Emotions will want to tell you to do many things– run, go for it, stop, go– and knowing when the emotions match with the reality is the key to risk-taking. While you may be inclined to pack up and move across the country to open a bakery, it may not be a risk that is worth taking. Backing up this whim with knowledge makes that risk worth taking or not. Quitting your job to go into full-time self employment is a risk, but if you know that your business is stable enough to provide the support that your previous job was providing (and increase in its ability to provide with your full attention) then that is a risk worth taking. The foundation of risk taking is the same: investigate your reality and then act. Acting whimsically is part of the fun in life, however, knowing when that is appropriate is the key. If you would like to take a last minute trip to Vegas, you can easily do that– if your finances allow for it and you know that you won’t be missing anything too important. Knowing when you can blow off plans is knowing when to take risks. Just as braving the outside without a jacket when it is sunny and warm out despite a warning of rain is taking a risk, so too can you apply this knowledge to finances and the big projects like self-employment. And as with everything, when you allow yourself to become a model in healthy risk taking, your children can follow suit. Taking risks applies to all aspects of life from relationships, to travel, to business. When you model healthy risk taking in your business ventures, your children can do the same in regards to finances and in regards to their personal relationships. Everything is a teachable moment.
16. Always be learning.
Following your passions means keeping up to date with the evolution of those passions in real time, the real world, and the market that sells them. If you are interested in brewing beer, then knowing all the latest beer news is going to help you immensely in your own exploits. If you’re interested in running a store for children’s things, then knowing all the latest products and whether or not they’re worthwhile is crucial. Many professions require ongoing learning to remain credentialed. While you don’t have to do this when you own your own business (perhaps not, anyway, depending on the business), if it’s your passion, it is a necessary investment. People who have habits of success know that when you venture to do something well, immersing yourself in all the aspects of this venture is going to allow you to “attack” with precision and give you the highest rate of success.
If you know nothing about birthing, then you will likely get a very standard and possibly unacceptable birthing experience for yourself. If you really want to know what the best way to birth your child is going to be, then you will look at all the options (whether they suit you or not) and inform yourself with everything birth related. When you finally go to birth, you will know exactly what you want and be in a better place to advocate for your desires. The contrary experience is going along with unnecessary interventions and possibly even harmful interventions that result in things you may not feel comfortable with later.
If you’re planning on opening your own business, learn how. Learn how to do everything from hiring to firing, opening, closing, accounting–the whole gauntlet of duties of an owner, manager, employee. Take business classes, go to seminars and workshops and become an encyclopedia of information for the kind of business you seek to open. Don’t wait until you know everything (there is never a perfect moment, remember?) but do invest in filling out your knowledge. The more you know the better you are able to navigate through pitfalls and hurdles.
Finally, putting an emphasis on relevant education shows your children that they don’t have to follow the traditional pathways of education– K-12, college, grad school– but rather follow their passions intelligently. There is nothing wrong with having an interest in cinematography and going to film school, yoga and becoming a certified yoga teacher, beer and becoming a brewer and to allow your children the freedom to pursue those passions without shame is a gift.
17. Find comfort in wealth.
It’s okay to have money. If you haven’t gathered that by now, then heed this message strongly: wealth is not bad. It is your judgment, feelings, and perspective on it that makes having lots of money good or bad. Not only can you find psychological comfort in money, you can find physiological comfort in money. It’s not a bad thing to strive to make money and to be wealthy when you can afford to buy a house, run the heater or air conditioner when it’s especially brutal weather, to buy clothing that is seasonally appropriate and fits and flatters you well, to buy the foods that you need to be your healthiest and to hire help if you need it. Money and wealth, as elucidated numerous times, is simply a passageway into easier and more meaningful interactions in life. It is not supposed to be a stigma– that is emotional. Money is devoid of emotion it its essence though it provides for you a plethora of positive emotions (or negative in the absence of a healthy relationship to money). Teaching your children that while money isn’t everything it can enhance many things is a sharp distinction to be made that will serve them well as they continue on the path of making money (as everyone in this world is wont to do at some point in their lives).
18. Be financially intelligent and rational.
This whole money deal has the potential to make your life happier, more enjoyable, and easier. A positive relationship to money also teaches your kids how have a happier, more enjoyable and easier life in their future. Knowing how to be intelligent in your expenditures, purchases, and investments will make sure that your relationship to money remains positive and lacks the undertone of failure and frustration that mars the financial experiences of many people. By spending and investing rationally you are utilizing money as the tool it is instead of as an emotionally charged object. If you are not driven by fear and desperation, you will make greater financial decisions. If you are not driven by unmet emotional needs or other psychological imperatives, then you will find that your relationship to money and therefore in many other facets of your existence will improve. It’s not that the relationship to money is the impetus for change or continuing along the path of abundance. It is, rather, that when you are able to feel comfortable with wealth and spend and invest rationally and intelligently, your fear, frustration, and negativity declines by virtue of becoming more balanced. Balance comes from any corner of your existence and since money and the acquisition and expenditure of it touches every corner of your life, the implications for a better relationship for money are marked.
Teaching your children to spend intelligently, to think about their purchases and how to make wise investments whether that’s in a high end blender or the stock market, is something that will serve them well from the first purchase they make onward through adulthood. How many children are allowed to spend frivolously without thought to their expenditures? It’s not wrong to buy candy and toys with your money but understanding the purchases for what they are and debating the positives and negatives of the purchases– just as you would intelligently and rationally discuss for any purchase as an adult– will help them grow a mind about what is a good investment and a poor investment. This will help them in many areas in their life (from choosing roommates to leasing a car) as well as showing them how to be sharp financially.
19. Its okay to ask for help and sometimes it’s better than doing it yourself.
You don’t have to pay for it yourself, let others pick up the tab whether this is from investors in your business or just allowing your friends and family to kick in for those big life events. It’s really easy to take gifts and things that we may not even want, yet when it comes to taking and receiving money it seems like such a burden and taboo. Well, get over it. You don’t need to have your own money to open a business. Sure it may be easier but if you don’t have the money to open the business you would like to open, then it has to come from somewhere. Being afraid to ask for money for fear of failure is actually admitting that you aren’t good enough, your idea isn’t good enough, and your ability isn’t good enough to succeed. Even if you actually fail, the point is that you believe you deserved the money to try and ultimately fail. The difference between those people who are successful and those who are not is that successful people believed that they were worth the money it took to fail or succeed. People who don’t believe they are worth the investment and time and energy are the people that continue to flounder in mediocrity. Asking for investments, financial aid or money in general especially when that money helps you accomplish your goals is asking for others to validate that you are in fact worth their investment or any investment in general. It is not money, it is energy and accepting the acknowledgment that you are worth this energy communicates to yourself and your children that if you hold yourself in esteem, there is no dream that is unattainable. There is no shame in asking for help if you know that you will deliver on your word and that your has your solid backing.
20. Let your children inherit a money positive mindset.
You want to know when to take risks, cut loose negative ties, and generally live with the “go get ’em” attitude of success. Yet emotion can impede the best decisions so stay rational, connected to intelligent decision making, and free of emotions that might cloud your better judgment. Every fearful conversation about money, every frustration, every negative word, idiom, or tirade about money affects your children’s perspectives on this matter. As money is so crucial a component in our lives, it makes little to no sense to teach your children why money is evil or frustrating or whatever. Your children will need money to survive and to live their lives with happiness and excitement. Let them know that to accept money, to concern themselves (not obsessively but healthily) with money is not an act of selfishness or snobbery. Money is just a tool to build the life and future dreams are made from. 🙂
And for lack of a more fitting way to end this, THE END. I hope you enjoyed the summary. 🙂